SUNDAY, MAY 12, 2013.
A LABOURER DESERVES HIS WAGES
‘Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.’ (Lk. 10:7).
WHEN Jesus sent out the 72 disciples, He cautioned that they should not take bags, sandals or purse. His intention was that where they were going to work they would not be stranded for the people in the mission field will provide all their needs. He, therefore, directed that whenever they enter into a city and they were accepted and hospitality presented to them, they should accept. For Jesus, a labourer deserves his wages.
It is a Biblical demand about a labourer that what is due to him should be given to him. According to the scriptures, it is not good to muzzle the ox at the threshing floor or to withhold his wages overnight, as whoever does so is a murderer (Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor. 9:9; Prov. 14:31).
Jesus’ statement about the labourer is an inclusive statement. By that, He is saying to government that employs workers, when the workers put in their best as it were in the Federal, State and Local government levels, what is due to them should be given to them as at and when due. Impliedly, money fixed in different bank accounts not for the welfare of the workers should not be so. Also, pilfering with workers pension scheme is highly condemned, as we have witnessed in the recent times. The workers day celebration of May1 of each year is a quick reminder that workers deserve love, care and their wages.
By extension too, those who have hired servants in businesses or in their homes are also called upon to be fair to them. Any form of maltreatment is a direct affront on their maker and, so, employers of these categories of persons should have conscience in their daily dealings with them. A situation where they are wrongly accused, cheated, not settled when it is due for them to be free or sometimes giving them physical wounds instead of a simple correction to make them better is unbecoming.
Sincerely speaking, beyond the above, Jesus was directly speaking to those He called, sent out on mission to heal, deliver and to restore troubled souls. Remember, Jesus is very much concerned with the committed labourer, who is engaged in productive and sacrificial work. It is to be noted that they have actually abandoned their father, mother, close family ties for the sake of the Kingdom and, so, their needs are to be met while out there on the mission field.
In practical terms, the Bishop of Diocese of Gwagwalada, Rt. Rev. Tanimu Aduda, recently directed that whatever is collected in his diocese, every first Sunday, should be sent to the headquarters to assist in the defray of wages of church workers. This was part of his Synod charge at St Augustine’s Anglican Church, Zuba, FCT Abuja, to the members of his Diocese. He is of the view that workers should be adequately taken care of.
What did Jesus have in mind about the wages of the church worker? I think and rightly too, that what He had in mind could be achieved through these means:
One, that workers on the mission field regularly, should be paid their agreed salaries and wages, to enable them keep body and soul together and also take care of their dependants.
Two, that the emotional needs of the workers, be met as it will serve as a form of encouragement to the workers. A case in point is that as found in 2 Kings 4:8-10 where a woman of Shunem by the support of her husband took care of the needs of the prophet Elisha.
Third, that the workers be appreciated from time to time as a way of lifting their spirit in the mission field. The church congregation may put in place events like Minister’s Sunday, giving their children scholarship to further their education, even the church hierarchy can boost the morale of those on mission field by way of preferment and others.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.