Why Labor-Management Strife?
What we behold in the world today, both in the fields of management and labor as now set up, is simply organized competition and greed. This has produced only strife. It has impeded real progress. It has robbed both employer and employee.
Why? What's wrong?
Men have been governed by human passions and not by God. They're on the getting way instead of God's lawthe giving way, the serving way. In the world today men do not know how to find happiness and freedom from fears and worries or from the cares of this life.
Happiness is something that one can never reach out and take. It is something that you can have only by giving, and the more you give the more you have. It comes only by finding God's basic inexorable, spiritual lawthe way of love, the way of giving, of serving, of doing good. The true basis of happiness is spiritual, not material.
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God," said Jesus Christ. The government of God, the government of the very Eternal Creator who created every force and every energy, who rules the entire universeseek first his kingdom in your life and every physical, material blessing will be added, but the spiritual blessings will come first.
If you do this, you will have actually to live by every word of God, and that is your Bible. You'll have to study the Bible to find out how to live, and actually live by it. But you won't be living the way the rest of the world lives if you do.
If you do this you'll be filled with a dynamic power from without. Most of us only have what we find within and what we find around usin other words, our fellow humans or neighbors; but we're not conscious of an above. We're only conscious of the within and the around. And within, the well is dry. And around we find only competition, strife, consternation and contradiction. But there is an above, and we need to tap the above. We need to receive and be filled with this dynamic power from abovefrom God Almightythe very Spirit of God, the spirit of love and of understanding and wisdom, the spirit of faith, the spirit of patience, of power for self-mastery. If you do, your life will be energized, it will become successful, it will become full and complete, it will become happy. And you'll be prosperous in the long run.
You will study, and you will use your God-given mind, studying first to find the true way of life, to show yourself approved before God. You will devote yourself, secondarily, to your job, your work, your profession. What you set your hand to do, as God commands, you'll do with your might, with all of your energy.
You'll be industrious. If you work for a man you'll serve to the very best of your ability. If men work for you, if you're an employer, you'll be just as interested in their welfare as your own. You'll free your mind from all anxious concern and worry and fears, for you'll have the spirit of faith, relying upon the guidance and help of God Almighty. You'll do your best. You'll trust God with the result, and you'll find real peace and happiness and joy first of all. The result will be material prosperity, as well as happiness, within God's reasonable due time.
That's the recipe for success, for usefulness, for prosperity, for real and lasting happiness, for the full, abundant life. Very few people follow Jesus' formula and so very few people are happy, very few people are prosperous.
Nearly everyone today seeks first the material prosperity, and people become so engrossed in the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of richesif they succeed in acquiring them at allthat they seem never able to find very much time for seeking the kingdom of God or to be governed by the laws of God.
Most people today are in ignorance of the true formula for success, for accomplishment, prosperity; for the happy, joyous life. Most people don't even know what success is. Many people seem to believe that happiness is something that comes from material possessions. Their chief concern in life is to earn a better living, seek more money to find happiness by acquiring material possessions.
In this chase for that elusive money a large majority find the pursuit so difficult that they become overcharged with the cares of earning a living; trying to make ends meet. And this overwhelming majority never realize their goal. They remain either poor or worried, and the happiness they seek becomes as elusive as the money. They slave away their lives; yes, empty, worried, unhappy lives.
But a few of those who seek first the material riches of this worldand only a very few do have the talents, the qualities for material success and the accumulation of moneythat few prosper and pay the price. They generally have ability, and they are the ones who have studied and prepared themselves, who have exercised vision, industry, perseverance, determinationyes, they have all of those qualities.
So those who are prospered by God, because they sought first the kingdom of Godthat is, to diligently live under the laws of God's governmentthey're not the only ones that prosper materially. No, the few successful ones who seek first and usually only the material riches, many of them also prosper in the world.
Even though the tactics of labor unionism have gained higher wages, employers have often raised prices so that today's highest wages of all time actually purchase less than is commonly assumed.
Now, there are two kinds of material prosperity. One, that prosperity which is acquired by those who seek first and only the material assets. And that prosperity found by those who seek God's way of life first, and who claim God's promise that the material blessings will be addedand they are added in due time if you trust God and if you're diligent. In this world a common pastime of some is to envy the rich, to grumble, to gripe, and to complain, to hate the rich. What does God say about that?
Turn to Psalm 37:7-8. Here's what God says to you: ". .. fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way. .. , Cease from anger, and forsake . .. evil." Yes, what shall it profit a man though he gain the whole worldseeking riches in this worldand then lose his own soul? That kind of riches is false and soon left behind.
Some of these worldly rich have been unjust. They and their big industrial and agricultural corporations have taken advantage of their positions and paid their laborers too little. Ought the laboring man, then, to organize and to fight back? That's what we've seen in this world. But is this the true Christian way? It is not. That is not God's way. Even though the tactics of labor unionism have gained higher wages, employers have often raised prices so that today's highest wages of all time actually purchase less than is commonly assumed. What increased prosperity is being enjoyed has been due rather to the fact that machines have increased human efficiency. It's true that machines throw men out of work at first, but some, after retraining, find work in new industries because machines have created many new industries that we did not have three generations ago. Others, however, are thrown out of work and have great difficulty finding work.
What should the man who is oppressed by an employer do? You'll find the answer in James 5:1-4, 7, Revised Authorized Version: "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted. . . . You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields [the farm worker is here singled outit might also be the factory worker], which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of [hosts].. . . Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.. .."
In other words, when God sends Jesus Christ to this earth, he is going to straighten out all of those things, and he's coming in our time and our generation. God's instruction is to be patient until the coming of Christ, to wait until God restores justice. But, a lot of men say, "Oh, if we did that we wouldn't get anywhere." Probably they don't know God and don't trust God. But if you will trust God, your faith will not be in vain, and you will really find the true riches in the end.
By seeking first only material acquisitions, the majority have failed to acquire them. They've worn away their lives in a vain pursuit. While the few, even at the cost of hard workstudy, application and perseverancehave succeeded. But neither group has found happiness. Neither those who did gain their great wealth in this manner, nor those who've been cheated out of it. It just does not bring happiness either way because material wealth is not the source of happiness. Spiritual wealth is the real source of happiness.
By Herbert W. Armstrong