How should Christian employees/employers think in such a situation?
As I’m sure you are aware, dear reader, I believe scripture is to be our guide in all matters of faith and conduct. Therefore I appeal to biblical principles.
Please note that I am speaking of principles, not amounts of money. The seventy dollars kept from my sister in Christ will in no way “make or break” her, and it certainly is of no substantial consequence to her employer. However, what should be of utmost concern for all parties involved are the principles the seventy dollars in wages represent.
To begin, we must remind ourselves of an axiom which we often forget: Wages belong to the employee, not the employer. This truth is impressed upon us by our Lord when He announces, “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7).
Notice it is the worker’s wage, not the employer’s.
Thus we speak of paying not giving wages. Paying wages connotes legal and moral obligation. In other words, we pay workers because we owe them. That is, the payment of wages is a matter of indebtedness not charity.
My friend’s unfortunate and unnecessary circumstance reminds me of the chilling words from the Apostle James:
Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (James 5:4).
May such sentiments never be said of any Christian employer!
I have found that few things in all of this world more accurately reveal one’s true moral character than money. Hence each of us is challenged, in sundry ways, to glorify God in our handling of it.