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LABOR EARNS ITS JUST REWARD

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Rev Andrew J Demotses

The recently celebrated labor day holiday called to mind an experience that I had many years ago. A professional couple approached me and asked for my
help in finding a woman who could help them in their home. They needed someone who could work from 8 to 5, caring for their two small children, cleaning the house, and preparing the evening meal.

When I asked them what they would be willing to pay, I was truly shocked at the pittance that they considered a fair wage for all this work and responsibility. They each earned more in 15 minutes than they were willing to pay for a full day's work. When I gently suggested that it would be difficult to find someone willing to accept the job at that price, they answered that surely with patience they would find someone so desperate for work that they would agree to their price. They were quite prepared to exploit another if that served their own convenience and perceived self-interest.

It probably never occurred to them that God is just as concerned about financial injustices as He is about any other personal and societal lapses. He is grieved, I am convinced, whenever he sees the rich, the powerful, and the privileged take advantage of the poor, the helpless and the marginalized.

While very few of us ever find ourselves in a position to change the wrongs of our social order, we all can nonetheless do our small part to make things better. We can treat those whom we encounter and who do us a service with fairness, courtesy and the dignity that is theirs by divine right. The babysitter, the person who delivers our newspaper, the cashier at the supermarket and the person who services our car all add immeasurably to the quality and ambience of our lives. They deserve to be treated in a way that adequately reflects their inestimable contribution to us. We must never try to take advantage of people or treat them unfairly for personal gain. It is our obligation to love people more than things, and to use things and not people. Let us be mindful of God's stern admonition in the Book of Malachi, "The Lord Almighty says, 'I will appear among you to judge, and I will testify at once against those who .....cheat employees out of their just wages, and those who take advantage of widows, orphans, and foreigners,
against those who [in this way] do not respect me.' " (3:5).

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