Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Much has been written in the 20th and 21st centuries about the responsibilities of business leaders. Peter Drucker, Stephen Covey, John Maxwell and others have written extensively on the subject. Many have approached the topic from a contemporary secular point of view and a select few have written from a more biblical perspective.

The Bible addresses the responsibilities of leaders in Colossians 4:1 as follows: “Masters give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in Heaven.”

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary has this to say about Colossians 4:1; “Employers also have a duty not to take advantage of employees. Instead they should offer a just wage, proper benefits, and adequate rest. In contemporary societies, many of these benefits are required by government regulations.”

So if Colossians 4:1 is the leader’s instruction, let’s dig a little deeper. Part of the instruction is “to be fair”. The Online Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary says fair is “marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.”

Impartiality implies treating all equally or indiscriminately. How many leaders’ careers have been shortened as a result of terminations and litigation resulting from discriminatory actions? A quick query through Google on the topic returned 1.4 million hits (in 0.42 seconds). It’s a safe bet it’s happened a time or two.

What can cause a leader to be impartial or to discriminate? Here are a couple of common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Preferential Treatment - Some leaders fall into a trap of providing preferential treatment to those they befriend; those they have similar interests with; those who are of the same race or sex. In God’s eyes we are all the same. In Galatians 3:28 we read: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." God does not treat us preferentially. God is impartial, loves us all equally and we are likewise instructed to live in a God like manner.

  • Dishonesty - Honesty is a component of fairness. We all believe we know what honesty is. James defined it like this in James 5:12: “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.” In other words, be truthful. Speak the truth and act the truth. Lying and cheating are dishonest - period. In general, if you have doubts about whether you are being honest or not it would be best to examine your motives very carefully.

In summary, being a good Christian leader means to "do as you say you will do" while treating everyone in the same fair and just manner. Pay the employee who you share friendship with outside of work in the same manner as you do any other employee. Treat the employee who is of a different race or sex the same as you do the employee who is just like you. Do exactly what you commit to do even when it may come at a cost to you personally. As a leader IF YOU TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES FAIRLY AND JUSTLY YOU WILL FIND YOUR FAIR AND JUST REWARD – the favor and blessings of God.

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