Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. (James 5:4)

SHARECROPPING WAS A WIDESPREAD PRACTICE in the southern United States after the Civil War. The plantation owners supplied their ex-slaves with a house, tools, and work animals. In return, the sharecropper planted and reaped the crops. When the harvest was gathered, a portion was given to the landowner and the worker kept a percentage. Abuse of this system existed, especially if the workers could not read, write, or calculate what they had coming.

Abuse of workers can happen in any workplace. Shop owners expect employees to work overtime without pay. Employers grow rich by paying low wages. Cheating and lying exists in the corporate world.

In Bible days, day laborers in Palestine lived on the verge of starvation. Their wages were meager. A family couldn’t eat if wages were withheld even for a day. Old Testament Scriptures defend the laborer, and the law of Moses forbade holding back wages from hired help.

No injustice escapes the attention of God. Employers should pay a fair wage to their workers—from the teenager who baby sits their children, to the clerk who works at the counter, to the auditor who does their accounts. We want people to treat us fairly, and we extend the same mercy to them. God rewards those who employ fair practices in all their dealings.

If you have been unfair with someone, make it right today.

Jewell Johnson is a Bible teacher, a wife, and mother of six children, grandmother to nine. She enjoys walking, reading, and quilting.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.