(Originally published in Eternity in 2009/10)
‘One of my employees cost me $11,000 this morning’. We were catching up for an 8am social coffee, and Mike was experiencing the privilege of being the half owner of a business. It has been a simple error, and fortunately he had done something similar for a greater sum for a previous employer just a few years earlier. And he was keen to honour Christ in the way he treated his staff. So yes he was going to be gracious, yes he was going to treat it as a ‘training’ experience, sure he was still going to make good money, but yes it still hurt.
It is the side of owning a business we don’t often acknowledge. Most of us are very pro work, we would like to use the gifts God has given us to make a difference to the world – and we would like to be well paid for doing so. Strangely, though, we can be quite against the people who create the opportunity for other people to work – the boss. We are generally very keen to be rewarded for our effort, but sometimes resentful when they are rewarded for theirs. Perhaps we forget that in world where the ground is cursed by God, where everything tends to disorder and decay, that it is quite an achievement to get something done that someone else finds valuable enough to pay money for, let alone enough to cover costs and make a profit.
If you create and manage opportunities for others to work you do a good thing. Maybe the product or service you offer is also a good thing, maybe the way you use the money you make is a good thing, but the work you create is certainly one. You give people the means to provide and raise families and you give people the opportunity to bless others with the gifts God has given them – and perhaps you even create a mission field. No, not all employers are good, but this shouldn’t prevent us from noticing it when they are. They are a few good men and women and we could simply say thank you.