James 5:4-6, “4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.”
One major way corporate greed occurs is when companies make a surplus of money by abusing and stealing from their employees. The abuse can come in the form of long hours without breaks in harsh working conditions known as “sweatshops.” Sweatshops refer to the work environment in developing countries that are set up by wealthy companies to make products at the lowest cost possible; no matter the harm to the people and environment.
Most of the time these workers are uneducated and have very little rights so they cannot negotiate with the big company for better work environments and hours because the company will simply fire them and hire another willing person. As a result, the poor workers are treated more as slaves than employees and are forced into a lifetime of servitude.
Corporate greed also occurs in developed countries when companies mistreat their employees by not paying acceptable wages and offering health insurance or reasonable time off. This kind of greed not only happens in big companies but it can also be seen in small to mid-sized companies that purposely keep their employees at part time so they don’t have to give them benefits.
James pointed out in today’s passage that the greedy business leaders of his time could do better for their employees and still make a profit. However, because of their greed they were squeezing every penny out of their employees and harshly ruling over them. A better solution would be to still have capitalism (free market without government control of the economy like with “socialism” or “communism”), but with good laws and regulations that protect the workers and insure they are getting a fair pay with affordable health benefits.
The solution to corporate greed is biblical capitalism. Like with the Israelites- they could work hard, produce wealth and be kind to the worker all at the same time!
Adrian Rogers said, “Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.”
Here are three things you can do to stand against corporate greed; (1) Don’t support companies that are known to treat their employees unfairly. (2) Vote for godly leaders to make laws that protect the workers from oppression. (3) Pray that both the workers and owners will do unto others as they would want done unto themselves!
Do you believe companies should treat their workers fairly?
- Clearly explain from the Bible why corporate greed is a sin.
- Pray for God to expose greedy companies and bad leaders; and to rise up good ones.
- Resources: “Rescuing Capitalism from Corporatism,” by John David Rose & “Business for the Glory of God,” by Dr. Wayne Grudem.
One Year Reading Plan
Hosea 1:1-3:5, 1 John 5:1-21, Psalm 124:1-8, & Proverbs 29:5-8. Click here to read online.