Summary: Here's a sermon for the Labor Day Weekend. It includes a point about strikes., as well as points about the responsibilities of employers and employees.
What Does The Bible Say About Labor?
I Thess. 4:11 & II Thess. 3:10-12
1 Thes. 4:11
that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,
2 Thes. 3:10-12
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
I think Labor Day is a strange holiday.
While we call it "Labor Day,"
we try to do as little labor as possible
and most working people have the day off.
It's a bad weekend for the Church...
because everyone wants to do other things this weekend.
Labor Day is different things to different people.
To the factory or office worker, it may be a day off.
But, for policemen, nurses and doctors, it's just another work day.
To farmers, it's just another day to feed the livestock...
and work in the field.
Our passages today in 1 and 2 Thessalonians...
encourage us to work rather than sit around on welfare.
Many people think work is an undesirable thing...
and they do as little as possible for the greatest return.
This leads to the idea of someone else doing the work for you --
In America, "labor" and "management" are adversaries.
Labor wants the most money for the least work.
Management wants the most work for the least money.
The American way is based on this adversarial relationship.
Point #1 Our American work system is not necessarily Christian.
Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
This passage is about masters and slaves.
However, it can easily be applied to management and employees.
God cares about how we conduct business!
He cares about how we treat others.
We will all face judgment, both management and employees.
The Christian cannot separate his business and his spiritual life.
He has no right to "out-heathen" the heathen.
The Christian does not live for self alone.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
Point #2 An employee should be paid what he deserves.
Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.
'You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.
These Old Testament passages applied to times...
when a worker got paid every day at the end of the day.
God expected those who hired workers
to pay them what they had coming
and not hold onto it for themselves.
What did Jesus have to say about paying employees?
...for the laborer is worthy of his wages.
1 Tim. 5:18 says:
For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer is worthy of his wages."
So every employee deserves to be paid a decent wage.
Preachers should be paid a decent wage.
1 Cor. 9:14
Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
Our Elders and Deacons would like to give me a raise...
But I've turned them down because our church can't afford it.
So we all need to get busy drawing more people into this church!
Maybe then the preacher's wages can be what they should be!
Point #3 Christian employers should treat their employees well.
And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.