James has been addressing wealthy people who are hoarding money in these Last Days. Today’s verse explains how they are able to hoard so much – they are not paying what they owe…
Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. (James 5:4)
In those days, many workers were hired one day at a time. They depended on that days’ wages for food; if they didn’t get paid that day, their families would go hungry. Not only were the wealthy bosses late with the payroll – the Greek tense James used suggests that they never intended to pay! The Mosaic Law had something to say about this:
You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin. (Deuteronomy 24:14-15)
In our culture, we don’t pay wages every day, but the principle still applies. Wages need to be paid on time. You may think this lesson is only for employers, but the truth is that we are all employers! We hire the gas company to bring gas into our homes. We hire the water company to bring water into our homes. We hire the power company to bring electricity into our homes. You may see these companies as multi-million dollar corporations that won’t miss your little payment, but these companies employ hundreds of workers who need to make a living for their families, so they can pay their gas, water and hydro bills, too. So you see, you really are the boss! You have more employees than you realized.
Here are some ways in which people hold back wages: not paying bills on time; driving away without paying at a gas station; not paying someone what a job is worth; not tipping at a restaurant; not paying back what you owe; stealing TV signals; breaking Copyright laws; expecting a discount from a friend.
When we cheat people financially, we hinder the opportunity to win them for Christ. Christians should always pay what they owe, and we should always pay on time.
Today’s Good News is that we can show the love of Jesus by paying people what we owe on time.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you have missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.