|On-Line Bible Lessons|
We mentioned last time that Deut. 24:14 and 15 (Lev. 19:13) opened up at least two principles worth looking at. We want to examine the second one here. These both fit under thief and fraud. These two passages deal with employer and employee relationships.
1. We saw last time that for the employer to resist paying
his employee his just wages when it is due is thief and fraud.
God gave the employee a court of appeals and where is that, Deut.
a. As the employee who has been defrauded makes his proper appeal, what are the promised results, Jer. 22:13; Mal. 3:5; I Thess. 4:6? _________________________________________
b. There are several means of defrauding the employee. One is to withhold his pay or put off paying him as long as you can. What would be another means of defrauding the laborer, Matt. 10:10; Lk. 10:7; I Tim. 5:17, 18? _____________________________________________________
c. Now, this brings us to a very touchy subject of our day, labor unions. The principle is clearly established in scripture, yet ignored by those who feel there is a better way or don't want to offend and lose their offerings. Probably the most important principle we have already mentioned. Where is the proper place of appeal, according to God's Word, for the employee who is being defrauded? The NT clearly upholds this principle, Ja. 5:4.
Let us consider a searching question. Is it right to bypass God's way? Another point established in scripture is found in a parable by our Lord in Matt. 20. Let's go through this point by point.
I. Who owned the business, v. 1? _____________________________________________________
(The penny was a day's wages at this time. Early in the morning was probably about 6 A.M.. The work day would have been from 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.. The employer went back to the labor pool four more times, with the last time being at 5:00 P.M., one hour before quitting time).
II. How much did the ones hired at 6:00 A.M. agree to work
III. How much did the rest agree to work for, v. 4? __________________________________
IV. Who was the agreement made between, v. 2? ________________________________________
(The work day is now over, and according to the law which we are looking at (Deut. 24:14-15) the owner calls in the laborers and pays them.)
V. Who receives the pay first, v. 8? _________________________________________________
VI. How much do they receive, v. 9? __________________________________________________
VII. How much did the ones who worked the full 12 hrs. get, v. 13? ___________________
VIII. This created some problems. What did the ones who worked the full 12 hrs. expect?
2. They complained that they weren't paid enough, yet they were paid the agreed upon amount. The major point which our Lord makes is found in v. 15. What is it? __________________
This gives us several points to follow through.
First, the agreement was made between the two. It was the responsibility of each to fulfill that agreement. The contract was between two people. Second, the price agreed upon would, of course, be in relationship to the skill involved. At this point let us observe, all men ARE NOT equal before God. Every person is unique. Each one will answer for the use of his individual talents and abilities, Lk. 19:12-36; I Cor. 3:8; 4:1-8; II Cor. 5:10. It is strictly between the two as to who deserves what. Third, the owner chose who would work for him, not the group of employees. The wage was established between the owner and the individual, not between the owner and the group of employees. Forth, probably the hardest for humanistic man to accept is this. The owner of the property is the soul determiner as to the use of that property. It is his to do with as he pleases as long as this use is within the limits established by God's word. Fifth, speaking to the "management" side of this affair, we have Rom. 4:4. Here we see that the wages given to the laborer are not a favor to be granted, but what?
This brings us to this point. Does God give the laborers the "right to strike?" Do the laborers have the right to force the owner to pay them more, especially if it is for the same amount of work with no increase in production?
3. When the owner is forced to pay more, he must pass his costs on. Therefore, who actually is the strike against? ___________________________________________________________________
As we saw last time, fraud takes place when there is not just value given for the services or merchandise received. If the price is forced up with no increase in value, this would very definitely fit under thief and fraud.
We are caught in an economic system based upon paper fiat money (out of nothing). This leaves the laborer caught in the squeeze. One reason for this inflation is that God's people are controlled by covetousness rather than the Holy Spirit. Until there is this return to God's Word there will be this inflation. But, does this permit the violation of the principle established in Matt. 20:15? Has Col. 3:22-4:1 been set for the period of time in which we now live?
No doubt the argument arises, "Unless the workers band together, the owner will take ad&SHY;vantage of us." This is to disregard the fact that God is in control of all economic situations. God's law is in control. He will send judgment upon those on both sides of this labor contract be&SHY;tween the owner and the individuals who will not fulfill their responsibility to His law.
Also, an argument which we hear is, "Look at how much better our standard of living is since the workers have united against the owners and demanded more." Mercy, there are a multitude of answers here.
1) Look at inflation. A loaf of bread raises from 5 cents to 75 cents or up. Postage up from 2 cents to 25 cents. Wages up from maybe 50 cents an hr. to maybe 5-15 dollars an hour. Is there really that much of a difference?
2) No doubt much of this so called prosperity is based upon consumer debt. 75 years ago every&SHY;thing was paid for. Today, nothing is paid for except the interest. How much of the increased living standard is actually increased debt, rather than increased income?
3) The demand for higher wages has driven quality down and prices higher. The result is the flight to purchase goods from outside our high labor market. We are now consumer oriented rather than manufacturing oriented. A good example is the garment industry. They have lobbied for and obtained protection against home industry to where garment manufacturers cannot use American Home Labor. So what have the manufacturers done? They now purchase their garments from Eastern Block Nations where they are made by slave labor. If they would allow home labor for the garment industry, the money now being sent to support these slave countries would remain at home in support of private enterprise.
4) Can anyone honestly say that our country is stronger-- spiritually, morally, economically, than it was before the labor movement gained such strength? Say from about 1900?
4. Let us keep in mind what our Lord is dealing with in Matt.
20. As always, He applies the law of God much deeper than man
does. He applies it to the very thought and intent of the heart.
He deals with attitudes. What attitude do you think He is dealing
with here in Matt. 20:1-16?
God gave the plan on how to deal with the "crooked" employer. This is the only plan which will work. Humanist man, rather than doing it God's way and then God taking care of the problem, likes to take matters into his own hands. Man feels he knows better how to handle the situations. So man, rather than turning back to God and maybe holding a prayer meeting that God would do Prov. 21:1, unites together and builds his tower. He bands together and storms the castle. Rather than being a servant, he desires to be the master. The uniting together by the group to enforce their demands is as unscriptural as Nimrod was in Gen. 11, the husbandmen of Matt. 21:38 and the day laborers of Matt. 20:11-13.
Can't we just see those of Lk. 19:12-27 banding together and telling the certain nobleman, "We ten got together and decided this is what you must do or else we will burn down your house. Here is our list of demands".
If a group of people get together and demand something which is not rightfully theirs (demand something other than what they agreed upon at the beginning of the relationship), this also would fall under fraud.
One final point. Wicked owners do not give the laborer the right to be wicked, also. When the laborer removes himself from God's plan, then they also move from the power of God to work the situation out. God gave us the way in which He can take care of us; to do any less will sacrifice that care for the world's way and power.
The NT church faced the same problems. Notice what Peter told them to do in these situa&SHY;tions, I Pet. 2:18-25; and chp. 3. This is as contrary to human wisdom as anything can be, yet there is only one way to see God accomplish I Pet. 2:15; 3:12, 16; 5:5, 6, etc..
God has given the method of overcoming the crooked "master". When we put His plan into ac&SHY;tion by faith, we can fully expect HIM to work all things out for His glory. Anything less than God's way will destroy an economic system.
Is this a reason that the owners (corporations, etc.) are so ungodly today because the "servant" has turned his back upon God's method of settling labor disputes and is trusting in the world's way? Therefore, the owner is not being changed by God, but is being controlled by the spirit of this world; rebellion against authority.
Deut. 24:19-25 is the law concerning gleaning -- God's method of caring for the poor. Notice this is placed with the law concerning the hired servant. This indicates that vv. 17-22 is owed to the poor as much as just wages is to the laborer. To fail to do this is to pervert justice.
5. Who is to do the gleaning? Who is to gather the leftovers? ___________________________
a. Notice God's provision for the poor fits within His established principles. What if the one who is to gather the leftovers (glean) refuses to do the gleaning (work), II Thess. 3:10? ________________________________________________________________________
To fail to do Deut. 24:19-25 within the framework of II Thess. 3:10 is to pervert justice.