Monday, October 5, 2015

Amos 5:6-7, 10-15 Warning against Injustice

KEY TEXT: Amos 5:14-15 Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

KEY THOT: The word of the Lord to Israel is: “Seek the Lord and live” (v.6). But seeking the Lord is incompatible with unjust practices. To seek the Lord is synonymous with seeking good and loving good while hating evil. The evils spelt out by Amos include practicing dishonesty (“they abhor him who speaks the truth); taking advantage of the weak (“trample on the poor”); persecuting those with integrity (“afflict the righteous”); receiving benefits for favours (“take a bribe”); and ignoring the needy (“turn aside the needy in the gate”). Such evils are daily committed in many businesses through unethical practices and unscrupulous policies--even those with "Christian" bosses.

Only when such unethical practices and policies are put away in businesses owned by Christians will the promise of Amos 5:14 comes true for the Christian workplace and the church where they serve: “the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you.”

We have to be unscrupulously above board in our financial dealings in the church too--no hidden agenda and clever manipulation of finances to cover up shady financial processes. Sooner or later, unethical practices will be exposed. Some Christian business leaders believe their responsibility is to turn in the profit for the stakeholders because they are running a business, not a charity. But whether charity or business, the Christians cannot compromise with evil practices—or else we will lose God’s presence in our lives. As someone said, if we cannot change the corporate culture, we can always change our job.

I think the love of money is the root of all evils in our society. The church should never make becoming rich the measure or motivation for spirituality. Learning to be content with what we have is the key to avoiding unethical practices and unjust policies. Even I myself who serve in churches and para-church organizations can be swayed by the temptation to work in places where the pay is better rather than where the needs are greater. But when the pay-check becomes my main motivation for service instead of my passion for the Lord and the lost, I may start avoiding certain ministry because the compensation is not commensurate with the efforts required. The money-trap can corrupt my service. I must take Paul's warning seriously: “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

Father, deliver us from the bondage to the love of money so that we may always serve out of passion, not pay. Fill us with a passion for Your glory and Your presence in our workplaces. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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