I always get so thoughtful when travelling on a train or tram, I write some of my best sermons when travelling. I guess that is why they call me the the travelling preacher in some ways. But I am also a teacher. The other day over 75000 of Victoria’s teachers went on strike. I was torn ethically on what to do. Truly I sort of wished I had worked so I could have the money but it got me thinking about supporting my coworkers but I did not want to go to the rally. I decided to get involved with some charity work at my church and then I could use that as a support to witness. but through all this I wondered what does the Bible say about Christians going on strike? There is actually no formal word in the ancient Greek or Hebrew for work stoppage. The Bible clearly says, “slaves obey your masters” and Christ the Lord said short before he was crucified, “no servant is greater than the master/” Later in the Bible it says “masters be kind to your slaves.” But there are verses regarding employers and employess, below some are listed, and then I will discuss some of the modern work issues surrounding modern Christians with striking and what are some of the things we should think about.
Now most of the Bible’s verses about employers come from the New Testament and it really refers to Christian employers but it really is universal for everyone, below is just a few:
1 Peter 2:18-20: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. ”
Proverbs 22:16: “Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.”
Matthew 20:10-15: “Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.”
Leviticus 9:13: “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.
One of the main tenents of the Christian faith is submission to authority. God commands it, whether it be to Him, the government, our masters, or our spiritual elders. Below are some verses listed about employees. Again at the time it was written this was directed at Christian workers but again the principles should be universal. Below are just a few verses:
John 10:12: “He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.”
Luke 10:7: ” And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.”
Colossians 3:22: “Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.”
So then I started to wonder should a Christian particularly in a country of plenty go on strike. Unlike less developed countries I do not suffer injustice, and I live a very comfortable life. So why should a Christian strike?
It shows you support your comrades, as well as you can use it as a witnessing tool, it opens up conversations.
You can find Bible verses and talk about work relations in Biblical times.
If it is for a just cause for example an employer putting the employees at risk.
Is it part of the employee hype?
Does your strike action cause others undue stress?
Have you prayed on it?
In this modern day whatever our decisions we should always come back to the question of what does the Bible say and where do we feel the Spirit leading us? Now if you do not want to strike there are still ways of supporting your coworkers as to not burn bridges.
Donate your day’s salary (Matthew 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”)
Help set up, use your own personal time to assist in whatever way they need.
When people attack the strikers verbally or otherwise stand up for them as you would for Christ.
In this day and age life is never black and white there is so much grey but thankfully God keeps us focussed on what is right and when we are unsure we can always and should go to Him. Hallelujah!