Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 26, 2014

Practical Christian Care for the Poor: Employers Paying their Employees Promptly

Today’s devotion comes from Deuteronomy 24:6-16.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+24&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“10 “When you make your neighbor a loan of any sort, you shall not enter his house to take his pledge.  11 You shall remain outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you.  12 If he is a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge.  13 When the sun goes down you shall surely return the pledge to him, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you;  and it will be righteousness for you before the Lord your God.

14 “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns.  15 You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it;  so that he will not cry against you to the Lord and it become sin in you.”   Deuteronomy 24:10-15.

———————–

There are various ways that we can care for the poor, but the one way that is most common to us (most practical) is to pay the poor close to the time of their services to us.  For day laborers who are hired just for the day, today’s Scripture specifically commands that they should be paid at the end of the day, on the same day as their services.  Verse 15.

But, in addition, it may even more common for employers to employ for a greater amount of time, either full-time or part-time.  For those who are so employed, particularly near minimum wage, employers should consider paying their employees weekly rather than only twice a month, because as a practical matter, their employees are poor too and are living “paycheck to paycheck”.  Yes, it may cost the company more to do so, but it shows care for their poor employees consistent with this Scripture.

We can be encouraged by verse 13 in today’s Scripture that when you care for the poor, “it will be righteousness for you before the Lord your God”, not in the sense that such care for the poor produces righteousness, but in the sense that such care for the poor shows our faith as taught in the Book of James.

“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works?  Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?  Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works;  show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  James 2:14-18.

In conclusion, if an employer still unreasonably bristles against paying his or her poor employees weekly, wrongly thinking that he or she can demonstrate care for the poor in other ways or wrongly thinking that the Book of James should be cut out of the Bible, then the employer should consider that in the heart of the Bible’s teaching of faith, Romans Chapter 4, it states:  “Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.”  Romans 4:4.  In other words, paying employees weekly not only shows care to the poor, it is also shows justice to the poor employees in the sense that they earned prompt payment in addition to earning the amount of their wage.

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,”
When you have it with you.”  Proverbs 3:27-28.


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