Today is Labor Day, a holiday here in Canada, and it seemed a good opportunity to post a short excerpt from Wayne Grudem’s book Business for the Glory of God. In this book Grudem seeks to show the moral goodness of business and one of the ways he does that is by discussing the goodness of the employer/employee relationship. Here is what he says:
Employer/employee relationships provide many opportunities for glorifying God. On both sides of the transaction, we can imitate God, and he will take pleasure in us when he sees us showing honesty, fairness, trustworthiness, kindness, wisdom and skill, and keeping our word regarding how much we promised to pay or what work we agreed to do. The employer/employee relationship also gives opportunity to demonstrate proper exercise of authority and proper responses to authority, in imitation of the authority that has eternally existed between the Father and Son in the Trinity.
When the employer/employee arrangement is working properly, both parties benefit. This allows love for the other person to manifest itself. For example, let’s say that I have a job sewing shirts in someone else’s shop. I can honestly seek the good of my employer, and seek to sew as many shirts as possible for him along with attention to quality (compare 1 Tim. 6:2), and he can seek my good, because he will pay me at the end of the week for a job well done. As in every good business transaction, both parties end up better off then they were before. In this case, I have more money at the end of the week than I did before, and my employer has more shirts ready to take to market than he did before. And so we have worked together to produce something that did not exist in the world before that week–the world is 500 shirts “wealthier” than it was when the week began. Together we have created some new “wealth” in the world. This is a small example of obeying God’s command to “subdue” the earth (Gen 1:28) and make its resources useful for mankind. Now if we multiply that by millions of plants, millions of workers, and millions of different products, it is evident how the world gains material “wealth” that did not exist before–new products have been created by an employer hiring an employee to manufacture something.
Therefore if you hire me to work in your business, you are doing good for me and you are providing both of us with many opportunities to glorify God. It is the same way with hiring people to produce services–whether hiring teachers to teach in a school, doctors to care for people in a clinic, mechanics to fix cars, or painters to paint houses. The employer/employee relationship enables people to create services for others that were not there before.
And so, as Christians, we know there is dignity in labor; there is dignity in being an employee or an employer. So as we rest for our labors today, we can rest knowing that tomorrow we return to a good and noble task.