On Independence Day (2010) President Obama gave a speech on the lawn of the White House that espoused something I had never heard a President say before:  “We celebrate the principles that are timeless, tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America — civil rights and voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights, and the rights of every American.”

Worker’s rights? Huh? What does that mean exactly?

In the bible, we read the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Mathew 20:1-16). The story goes that a land-owner went down to the day-labor  pool, and hire a bunch of workers to harvest his crops. He offers to pay them $20 to work the full day, and the workers accept. In the middle of the day, he hired some more pickers, and also agreed to pay them $20 to finish out the rest of that day.

At the end of the day, you can guess what happened. The guys that were hired first wanted more money. Did they have a right to more money since they worked longer than the second group that was brought in and didn’t have to work as long?

I’m just guessing here that President Obama would probably would say “yes. They have a “RIGHT” to more money.”

Of course, that is not what Jesus says. After telling the grumbling workers that they had a contract and he held up his end, He says:

“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” Matthew 20:15 (NIV)

You see that point, don’t you? Jesus says that employers have the right to do with their money what they want to do with it. A RIGHT!

The President, and the people that agree with him, do not understand this one key point: regardless of the shape of the economy, “getting a job is a gift.”

People that work as employees exchange “uncertainty” for “certainty.” They need money, and they trade their time and skills to a person in exchange for for the certainty that they will get money. By doing so, they know that at the end of the work day, they are owed a certain amount of money from the employer.

How much uncertainty or risk is there for the employee? That is something you really should ponder.

When you get a job from someone, their isn’t much risk that you won’t get paid. The worst case is that the employer stiffs the person out of a paycheck. But you’d be able to see signs around you pretty quick if you worked for a boss like that. I suppose you’d figure it out within the first hour on the job if the boss had the money to pay your wages.

But turn that situation around. Look at the situation from the boss’s perspective. How much risk does he have when hiring an employee? For starters, will the employee show up for work? Will they show up on time? Will they be able to follow directions? Will they steal the company blind? Will they be lazy? Will they piss off a customer and drive them to a competitor? Will they show up for work on the second day? Will all the training and company secrets they are given be safe with them, or will they take them and head off to a competitor?

The employer is taking on a huge amount of uncertainty and risk by hiring any employee. MASSIVE RISK!

If you knew how much risk there was in hiring a new person, you’d wonder why any company would ever do it.

Every businessman that owns his own company knows that there is no guarantee that they will make money on any day. I wake up every morning knowing that I’m a whisker away from being out of business and not getting any money to support my own family. It is a huge risk to be in business in the first place. If there was no reward in it, I would quit and go work for the government (trade uncertainty for certainty). That is why getting a job from someone taking on a huge amount of risk is a real gift. They don’t have to give it to you. The less risky thing would be to do the work themselves.

Now the President of the United States is talking about something new: “workers rights.” I’m not sure what he is inferring. But I think it may mean something like a share of the profits of the company, on top of the wages they’ve earned.

In a number of ways, that is already happening. For starters, a company has to pay unemployment insurance. This is to pay people that aren’t working. Plus with Obamacare, employers have to pay for the healthcare of their employees. The employer is losing the rewards for taking a risk by having the government reach in his pocket and pull out money. It is no wonder that businesses are going bankrupt, and no new jobs are being created.

The founding fathers of America believed in capitalism and private property rights. They got this from the bible, and probably this passage in Matthew. The employer has a GOD-GIVEN RIGHT to spend his money how he sees fit. And being forced to pay for government programs for worker’s rights is not what they had in mind.

If God had mandated workers rights in the bible, the parable of Jesus would have ended with the employer being compelled by the government to pay the first workers more money.

Jesus, in effect, tells them to ‘go pound sand.’ In other words, “Get out of my sight. And on top of that, I can guarantee you that I won’t be hiring you tomorrow.”

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Be Sociable, Share!

3 Responses to “Worker’s Rights – Jesus says: “Go Pound Sand””

  1. Peggy Larson says:

    Amen to that!

    I’d guess (and hope) the workers’ rights he’s referring to are those such as the right to a safe workplace and reasonable hours. Given it’s Obama doing the talking though I’d venture he’s referring to unionization of workers and workers like the ones in your story who started working in the early part of the day.

    Unionization had its origins in the right place(s) but in today’s world sometimes I think the pendulum has swung over way to far, almost to where now employers need employers’ rights!

    Peggy Larson
    Quilting – Colors and Fun!

  2. Hi Tim,

    Indeed, we have a right to do what we want with our own money. From the Bible we know that all those blessings come from God. The other thing is to actually EARN money.

    Indeed, Worker’s do have rights, to safety, to healthy work environments. However, the right to jobs is not one of the workers rights.

    It’s like with all kinds of relationships, it is actually up to us to consider what we want and go aim and earn it as we pursue it.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Christian Dating Expert

  3. I can attest that your headline “workers rights jesus says: go pound sand…” description is sweet like honey and easy to understand than any I’ve seen so far.