Independent Contractor (Ruth 2:4)

In the workplace, there are usually two categories of workers. An employee is required to work a predetermined schedule at designated locations. They can avail of a variety of employer provided benefits that may include, but is not limited to, health care, unemployment insurance, vacation pay, and pay for sick time and maternity leave. In contrast, an independent contractor has no benefits but is able to set their own hours and schedule. This definition used to be quite clear but recent disputes and negotiations between states, major companies, and its workers have begun to blur the distinctions.

The gig worker in the modern economy has emerged and with a new name, there are new definitions. In some states, laws have been passed that require companies in certain industries to provide employer benefits to workers who would have previously been classified as independent contractors. Essentially a new category of workers has been created. 

At the heart of this issue is the nature of the relationship between employer and worker. If the expectations between the two are in sync, there should be no need to create new categories of workers. It is not surprising that the Bible outlines the principles of an ideal workplace. 

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites. Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven. 

Colossians 3:22 – 4:1 (NLT)

While we no longer use the labels of masters and slaves, this passage illustrates the most important relationship that should guide all workplace relationships. Both employer and worker ultimately answer to God. There is no new category of worker, there is only a new relationship through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. Perhaps someday, employers and workers will enter into a relationship based upon trust and reverence of God, rather than fear of retaliation from either party. On that day, a harmonious relationship will once again exist as exemplified between Boaz and his workers. 

…Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters. “The LORD be with you!” he said. “The LORD bless you!” the harvesters replied. 

Ruth 2:4 (NLT)

Is this too idealistic? Not when we are all contracted to work for God.

Amen!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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