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Human

Resources Management 1
Biblical Values and Principles in Human Resources Management:

A Review of the Literature

Lately there has been a surge if interest in the concept of spirituality

in organizations among practitioners, consultants and latterly among

academics seeking to explore what the concept might mean for the

reshaping of work and organization.

Some commentators focus their work on spirituality on

organizational development, for example on creating culture and climates

in organizations that encourage moral behavior and a focus on the

common good and well being, and others focus on spirituality as an

intensively private and personal experience.

Several organisations focus on both individual spiritual growth as

well as a broader communitarian ethos for the organization. For them, the

measures required to become spiritual are honesty with self, articulation

of the corporation’s spiritually-based philosophy, mutual trust and honesty

with others, commitment to quality and service, commitment to

employees and selection of personnel to match the corporation’s

spiritually-based philosophy.

This discussion paper will investigate on the relationship between

biblical values and principles and Human Resource Management in

organizations using biblical references.

The main question that will be answered is – What is the relationship

between biblical values and principles and Human Resource

Management? Specifically, the following questions will be answered:

1. Definition of Human Resource Management.

2. Contribution of biblical principles and values to Human

Resource Management practice in terms of:


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 Employer – Employee relations.

 Duties of employers.

 Duties of employees.

 Compensation.

 Employee empowerment/development.

 Employee health and safety.

3. Biblical aspects of Human Resource practice that are not

relevant for the 21st Century.

What is Human Resource Management?

The term Human Resources Management has been subject to

considerable debate. The concept is shrouded in managerial hype and its

underlying philosophy and character is highly controversial because it

lacks precise formulation and agreement as to its significance Human

Resources Management can be described as that part of the management

process that specializes in the management of people in work

organizations. It emphasizes that employees are critical to achieving

sustainable competitive advantage, that human resources practices need

to be integrated with the corporate strategy and that human resources

specialists help organizational controllers to meet both efficiency and

equity objectives (Gold and Bratton, 2001, p.11).

Human Resources Management consists of all the activities involved

in acquiring, maintaining and developing an organisation’s human

resources. Each of the three phases consists of a number of related

activities including planning, job analysis, recruiting, selection and

orientation (Pride et al, 2009, p.249).


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Human Resources Management can also be defined as

Administrative activities associated with human resources planning,

recruitment, selection, orientation, training, appraisal, motivation,

remuneration, etc. It aims at developing people through work

(http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/human-resource-

management-HRM.html).

Kathryn McKee (1997), has identified four (4) periods in the

evolution of Human Resources Management:

1. Mechanistic period – This is the period from the 1900’s to

1950’s when manufacturing was the driving force in industry.

The main focus was on administrative functions such as

recruiting, dismissing, paying, dealing with labour unions and

keeping records. Management of people was guided by the

principles and ideas of scientific management advocated by

Fredrick Taylor and Henri Fayol as such efficiency was more

important than human relations.

2. Legalistic period – This is the 1960’s to 1970’s which was

characterized by legislation in the civil, social, political and

employment areas. This involved regulation of the

employment and labour markets through laws and policies

such as Africanization and Kenyanization in Kenya, Equal

Opportunities Acts in the USA and many others to regulate

labour unions and employment contracts. This period also

ushered the computerization of Human Resource information.

3. Organistic Period – This is the period of organizational change

associated with the 1980’s. Globalization as a result of

technological change led to mergers, acquisitions, downsizing


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and rightsizing of organizations. Workforce became more

diverse as a result of immigration, expansion of cross-border

businesses, more educated workers with increased

awareness. These changes required specialist personnel

systems.

4. Strategic period – 1990’s and is a period of more complicated

organizations with complex structures and networks. The

hallmarks of this period are increased competition due to

globalization hence the need for survival. Organizations

adopted strategic planning. The role of Human Resource was

elevated to the highest level in the organization reporting to

the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors.

Contribution of biblical principles and values to Human Resource

Management practice in terms of Employer-Employee

Relations

The history of employer-employee relationships is witness of the

excesses and shortcomings to which human institutions and organizations

are prone. Industrialization of societies introduced major changes in how

work was organized, administered, and accomplished. Guilds or

associations of persons in the same trade gave way to labor unions that

became collective bargaining agents on behalf of employees.

Relationships between trade unions and employers have ranged from

adversarial to collaborative.

Today the workplace environment is influenced by numerous forces:

political systems, legislation and trade policies, economics, technology,

labor unions, and professional organizations. These fulfill functions

ranging from industry regulation, practitioner licensing, definition of work,


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employee advocacy and representation, codification of best practices, and

the scrutiny of ethical conduct. The multiplicity of organizations and

functions defy generalizations. Therefore, it is important to identify and

reiterate general principles and values that provide a Christian basis for

dealing with particular issues in the workplace.

(http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/colossians/3_22-4_1.htm).

In Colossians 3, Paul is teaching us about how our union with Christ transforms our

relationships with each other. He adds that:

“You have died with Christ, and you have been raised with Christ, and your life is

now hidden with Him in God. You are no longer who you used to be. You are no longer a

slave to sin and death. You have been set free. You have been recreated according to the

image of Jesus Christ. Every time you sin, you deny who you are in Christ. Every time you

let sin master you, you deny the Master who bought you.”

Paul's concern is that the Colossians live as those who are raised with Christ. And

since many of the congregation were slaves, and some were also masters, Paul wished to

instruct them on how to think about their lives together. The apostles did not attempt to

articulate a model of ideal economic life. They called Christians to live as citizens of heaven

in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation. Since you've been raised with Christ,

your attitude toward your work must change

(http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/colossians/3_22-4_1.htm).

The early Church was concerned not to bring about political or cultural change per se,

but to change the heart of man through the preaching of the gospel that the life and reflection

of Christ might be brought into society, heralding change not by law, but by the Spirit. The

message of the Gospel isn't about altering a man or woman's natural, physical circumstances,

but in altering a person's relationship to God

(http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/colossians/3_22-4_1.htm).
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The slave/master relationship was very common in the ancient world. Historians tell

us that during this period there were some 60,000,000 slaves in the Roman Empire, making

up about half of the population. The philosopher, Seneca, told of how the Roman senate

defeated a law proposing that slaves wear distinctive clothing, because they feared the slaves

would realize how numerous they were. Because the Romans were "free," they considered

work beneath their dignity. Slaves performed most of the work, including medical, teaching,

domestic work, and farming. While some warmth existed in the relationship of slaves and

their masters, quite often, it was a dehumanizing existence. They were considered to be

animate tools, alongside inanimate tools. Their masters had absolute authority over their

lives, even to the point of death if so desired. For slaves who were strong, plenty of

demanding work was set before them. For those of a more delicate nature, they would be

plied to illegal trades on behalf of their masters. When their usefulness was over, many would

be given over to prostitution. Slaves had no rights to property or inheritance

(http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/colossians/3_22-4_1.htm).

You might be thinking, "What does this have to do with me today? We no longer have

slavery in America." First of all, don't think of the servant/master relationship in the sense of

racial slavery in early America. In New Testament times slavery was an accepted economic

system, it was even honored. Paul was proud to be a doulos (servant) of Jesus Christ. Peter,

James, and Jude called themselves doulos. Jesus was called the doulos of God. The institution

of slavery is taken for granted in the Scriptures. The wrong or right of the matter are not

argued anywhere in the New Testament. Our Lord did not condemn nor abolish it. For the

most part, the slave was better off than their free counter part. To the original readers of this

epistle, slavery was an old established and familiar thing. The system was fine

(http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/colossians/3_22-4_1.htm).

The slavery of American history was totally unacceptable and sinful. It was racial,

and the conflict it created is still alive in our society today.


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According to the Seventh-day Adventist, employer-employee

relationships is based on teachings and narratives in the Bible, especially

those dealing with creation, sin and its effects on persons and

communities, salvation provided through Jesus Christ, and the ultimate

restoration of harmony and perfect order in the universe. Scripture affirms

and balances the value of individuals with the importance and good of

society as a whole

(http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/guidelines/main_guide8.html?

&template=printer.html)

The following are its guiding principles on the employer-employee

relationship:

1. Human beings, though corrupted by sin, still carry the likeness

of God (Gen 1:26, 27). Thus all are to be treated with respect

and justice. The freedom to exercise moral and ethical

judgment is an essential ingredient in the dignity of

personhood.

2. For a Christian, the Lordship of Jesus Christ permeates the

whole of life; its attitudes, actions, and relationships (Isa 8:13;

Matt 6:24; Acts 5:29, Col 3:23, 24). Other authority sources in

life are subordinate to Christ's authority and, unless

complementary to it, are neither safe nor reliable.

3. The workplace environment should be characterized by an

atmosphere of mutual service and mutual respect. Adversarial

relationships between employer and employees, born of

suspicion, self-interest, and rivalry deny dignity to persons

and ignore the larger interests and needs of society (James

5:1-6).
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4. The workplace should not dehumanize people. Employees

should have access to a process of consultation and genuine

discussion in matters affecting their labor and the conduct of

the business or industry that employs their talents and skills

(1 Kings 12:6,7; Mark 10:42-45; Phil 2:3-8).

5. Christians should refrain from violence, coercion, or any

method incompatible with Christian ideals as instruments in

the attainment of social or economic goals. Nor should

Christians lend their support to organizations or employers

that resort to such actions (2 Cor 6:14-18; 10:3).

6. The employer should work with the rest of the employees as a team and listen

to their views (2 Samuel 18:1-4). King David led his army against Israel. He

listened to their input requiring him not to be party to the invasion. They were

also gentle in their killing of Absalom according to his wishes. This needs to

be reflected in our leadership and working relations, According to

Nyambegera, this is a good sign of participative decision-making where the

employees are made to feel that their input is ‘invaluable and

appreciated’(Nyambegera, 2005, p.30).

7. Job design and division of duties. Ephesians 4:11-12, “It’s him who gave

some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be

pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the

body of Christ may be built up.” This means in every organization, everyone

should be made to understand their particular job that will compliment all

other functions in the organization (Nyambegera, 2005, p.30)..

8. Respect each other and living in harmony. 1st Thessalonians 5:12-15, Paul

exalts the Church to live in harmony, respect those who work hard, warn
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against laziness, encourage the weak and to be patient with each other

(Nyambegera, 2005, p.30)..

9. Exercising equity. Philippians 2:1-4 encourages the brethrens to not only look

at their interest but also the interest of others and to consider others better than

them. In employer employee relations, each party should look at the interest of

the other too and avoid being self centred (Nyambegera, 2005, p.30)..

10. Spiritual autonomy and integrity for church entities include

freedom to uphold and maintain basic religious tenets and

practices, such as Sabbath observance, freedom to establish

operating policies in harmony with church objectives, and

freedom to employ only those who support church teachings

and objectives.

Contribution of biblical principles and values to Human

Resource Management practice in terms of Duties of

Employers

Rayburn (2006) refers to Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1 in reference

to employers responsibilities (http://www.faithtacoma.org/content/2006-

05-07-pm.aspx).

In Ephesians 6:8 Paul understands his ethics here apply generally,

not only to masters and slaves. These are ethics for employers and

employees. Fact is, in those days, most employees were slaves and so to

couch the teaching in those terms made perfect sense.

Now, what does Paul say to employers or bosses here? He says that they

will have to answer to God, as an employer or a supervisor, for the

treatment of their workers as they will have to answer for the way they

treat anyone else.


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And when Paul says in Eph 6:9 that employers should “treat their

slaves [or workers] in the same way” – that is, they are to treat their

workers in the same way as, in the previous verses he said that workers

are to work for their employers – Paul is saying that bosses should treat

their workers as if they were serving the Lord and not men, and like the

slaves of Christ doing his will from the heart. “After all,” Paul means, “at

the last day you will not have to answer to the stockholder or to the

customer or to the government regulator or to the person in the company

higher than you, but to and only to the Lord Almighty.” That fact is a

universal acid that eats away all the reasons why company owners and

bosses and supervisors have ever mistreated their workers.

This mind should dominate anyone who is responsible for the work

of others. It did in a righteous man like Job (31:13-1 5):

“If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants when they

had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me? What

will I answer when called to account?”

These principles, of course, have untold numbers of applications as

featured in the Word of God:

Firstly, Employers are obliged to return to their employees a just

wage (http://www.faithtacoma.org/content/2006-05-07-pm.aspx).

Paul puts it this way in Col 4:1: "Masters, provide your slaves with

what is right and fair." Now, it is important for all of us, schooled in the

market economics of American capitalism, to take note of the fact that

Paul did not say that employers may pay their employees what the

market will bear. The Bible’s ethics of wages rest on this principle: ‘the

laborer is worthy of his hire’ or, as the NIV has it, ‘the worker deserves his
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wages.’ (A point repeated several times in Scripture; Luke 10:7; 1 Tim

5:18, etc.)

And its application of that principle cuts right across capitalist

considerations of the cost of labor. No doubt what a company pays an

employer will, in many ways, be determined by its balance sheet, by

market forces, by the availability of labor and the like. But Scripture is well

aware that market forces can place an employer in a position of

advantage over a worker, making it possible for him to pay his workers

less than they ought to be paid in accordance with principles of Christian

equity, justice, and love.

Consider the following texts.

1. Deuteronomy 24:14-15: ‘Do not take advantage of a hired

man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite

or an alien living in one of your towns. Pay him his wages each

day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it.

Otherwise he may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be

guilty of sin.’

2. James 5:4: ‘Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen

who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of

the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty!’

3. Jeremiah 22:13 (re Jehoiakim): ‘Woe to him who builds his

palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice,

making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for

their labor.’

4. Malachi 3:5: ‘I will come near to you for judgment. I will be

quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers,

against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who


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oppress the widows and fatherless, and deprive aliens of

justice but do not fear me, says the Lord Almighty.’ (The

workers were paid something, of course, but not what was

rightly theirs!)

5. Gen 31:41: Laban is an example of a crafty employer who

uses all manner of strategies to pay as little as possible to his

workers and keep as much as possible for himself! He

changed Jacob’s wages 10 times in an effort to defraud him of

his due!

This is but one illustration of the application of the fundamental

biblical principle of working life – the Lord is watching! – and the essential

implication of that principle that employers, as well as employees, are

obliged in their working life to practice the love of their neighbor. Love for

God and man will always require of the employer and the employee more

regard for the well-being of another than market forces would ever require

of him! The Lord is watching! Market forces, the profit motive, the reality

of the bottom line would never require an employer, boss, or supervisor to

love his workers, to treat them with regard and respect, and to put their

interests above his own personal interests. The fact that he must do his

work before the living God, that is what brings those considerations and

those obligations to bear.

Another point to be observed as a demonstration of this principle,

and a profound demonstration of it, is, of course, the fact that Paul is

requiring just and fair compensation of slaves by their masters. The

scandal of slavery was, of course, precisely that masters owned their

slaves and could do with them what they will. Paul says categorically that

that power over their slaves cannot be used to the slaves’ disadvantage;
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that slaves must be treated as fairly and compensated as justly as any

other worker must be if a man is to stand before the Lord blameless on

the Great Day!

The adversarial relationship of management and labor in our

country has done untold harm. Every raise is resented by management,

every effort to control costs resented by labor. If only employers treated

employees the way they would like to be treated themselves in the same

circumstances, very often employees would be far more understanding of

the problems management faces in trying to run a competitive company.

And, of course, underpayment of wages is not the only way in which

employers or bosses can mistreat their workers.

Secondly, employers are obliged to consider the general interests of

their employees as human beings, valued by God and created in his

image (http://www.faithtacoma.org/content/2006-05-07-pm.aspx).

Communication is a two-way street. Employers not only need to

speak to their employees, they also need to listen to their employees with

sensitive and understanding ears. (Hershey, 1985, pp. 117-129.)

It is not the case, as too many employers have thought, that if the

wage is adequate, the company has done its duty to its employers. There

is no relationship in life that can so easily and painlessly be managed to

the satisfaction of God and certainly not the relationship of someone who

has both so much power over other human beings and so much

opportunity to do them good or ill.

Consider such texts as these.

1. Isaiah 58:3: In condemning employers in his day, the prophet

says, ‘you exploit your workers’ or ‘drive them on’; that is, you

require them to work when they ought not to have to (in this
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case, a fast day; in other cases a Sabbath; or by simply

requiring too many hours a day of labor).

2. Job 31:38-40: Here Job is inviting God’s curse to fall upon him

if he has ‘broken the spirit of his tenant farmers...’

Today we can think of any number of ways in which employers can

mistreat employees: cruel speech, poor, unsanitary, or unsafe working

conditions, a failure to appreciate and commend faithful labor, little

concern for job security, sexual harassment, etc.

Thirdly, because an employer or business is going about its work

before the Lord and must answer to Him for all that it does, he or it must

take care of the poor (http://www.faithtacoma.org/content/2006-05-07-

pm.aspx).

In our day we look to the church and other charitable organizations

and, still more, to the state to care for the poor. But the Bible also gives

this responsibility to the businessman.

Consider Deuteronomy 24:19-22.

“When you are harvesting in your field and your overlook a sheaf,

do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the

widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of

your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go

over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien,

the fatherless, and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your

vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for

the alien, the fatherless and the widow.”

Now, some will argue that this requirement was peculiar to Israel’s

church/state situation, but, in fact, these are the very sort of requirements

that the apostles carry over and apply to new situations in the new epoch.
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“You shall not muzzle the ox while treading out the grain,” is an example.

If the law of God protects the rights of the animal, you can be sure it

protects for ever and all time the rights of the poor. And it is hardly only

the businessman who had obligations for the poor. But among all who did,

he was one.

A business generating income must use that income in part to care

for the poor. This is something God requires of the businessman just as he

requires it of individuals and other institutions of human society. Just as

no person, so no business lives to itself alone!

It is wonderful to dream of what our economy would be like if

employers treated their employees and their customers as they would like

themselves to be treated. But that is just another way of saying that the

law of God is good and wise and in the keeping of His commandments

there is great reward. But fallen man must have grace to do it, so contrary

to his sinful tendency is it to consider others before oneself. What an

opportunity that gives Christians. People should love to work for Christians

and do business with them. That that is not always the case should be

deeply embarrassing to us all. That it should be the case ought to be the

marching orders of every Christian company owner, boss, and supervisor.

It must be the case if one is running his company so as to please the Lord!

Fourthly, managers should apply the concept of servant leadership

where the manager should serve the needs of those who are under his

authority. This is in keeping with God’s perspective on leadership. The

basis for biblical leadership is servant hood. “Whoever wishes to become

great among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). Employers need

to balance efforts to make a profit with an unselfish concern for their


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employees and treat their employees fairly and with dignity. (Mark, 2001,

pp. 58-80, Nyambegera, 2005)

Other virtues include that the actions of employer or manager

should be consistent with his Christian beliefs (1 Pet5:3), making sound

decisions (Proverbs 3:21-26), administering justice (Proverbs 3:27) and

valuing employees (Luke 2:7) (Nyambegera, 2005).

Contribution of biblical principles and values to Human

Resource Management practice in terms of Duties of

Employees

Rayburn (2006) refers to Ephesians 6:5-8 and Colossians 3;22 – 25

in reference to employees responsibilities

(http://www.faithtacoma.org/content/2006-04-30-pm.aspx).

The apostle lays his finger on the cardinal vice of our labor: we do it

to please men. “Servants, obey your earthly masters in everything, and

do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with

sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord” (Col. 3:22). Men-pleasing

takes multiple forms, and with these forms is linked as great a variety of

vice.

Even when the most satisfactory work is performed, and even

though great pleasure may be derived from the doing of it out of

consideration for man, either as master or simply as appraiser of our

handiwork, even then both motivation and performance violate the first

principle of labor, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord,

not men” (Eph. 6:7), however much higher in the scale of human values

such service may be compared with work poorly done. It is this principle

that puts all eye-service and men-pleasing in the category of sin.


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This is the basic principle then: that our work be done as to the Lord

and with a view to pleasing and satisfying him. There are positive

characteristics to work done when we are seeking to serve God before

serving man and the Bible draws special attention to some of those.

First, because we work for the Lord and are seeking to please him,

we must be hard workers, conscientious and diligent.

When sloth enters a workplace you can be sure that God has been

forgotten. Some of you have been in situations in which not only do your

fellow workers hope to get by with the minimum amount of work

necessary to escape notice, but hard workers are actually resented for

“showing up” the others.

Trade unions have often performed valuable and necessary service

on behalf of workers, but they have also managed, by bringing coercive

pressure to bear, to create situations of institutionalized idleness for their

workers as though this were something to be applauded. When I was a

college student, a few of my fellow students from Pennsylvania had

managed to secure summer jobs in the steel industry and would regale us

each autumn as we returned to school with accounts of how much they

were paid for very little actual work. If you managed, in one particular

shop, to secure a position as a brick-layers assistant, for example, you

would often do only a few hours actual work per shift.

The Bible leaves us in no doubt that hard work is something that

pleases God. One classic text is Proverbs 6:6-11:

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no

commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in

summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there,

you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a
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little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will

come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

But we can find the same principle of hard work and its reward in the

New Testament. Here is Paul in 2 Tim. 2:6:

“The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the

crops.”

Hard work brings a reward in God’s world; God himself sees to it. It is

a stewardship and a responsibility that is pleasing to him. And, of course,

God knows whether you are working hard or not. Sometimes your

employer, boss, or supervisor can’t tell, or doesn’t care. It is not, in many

cases, terribly difficult to appear to be working harder than you are, to do

less than you might do and ought to do, to be less productive than you

might be.

Christian workers ought to be hard workers, diligent workers. Their

employers and supervisors should soon learn that they will get all they

paid for and more from Christian workers, whether or not they understand

that they work as hard as they do because they are serving a higher

Master.

Second, because we work for the Lord, to please him, we of all

people ought to be the most scrupulously honest and faithful of workers.

God, we are told over and over again is Truth. He cannot lie and we

who bear his image ought to be like him in that same strict, unsparing

honesty. It is the Devil who lies and who is the Father of lies and does so

in such subtle and high-sounding ways. Whose father a man or woman

has – the Lord or the Devil – will be indicated by his or her commitment to

the truth. One of the surest signs of man’s rebellion against God is the

ease with which men and women betray the truth. But, however much we
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find the problem in ourselves, in our society lying has become a way of

life. Isaiah never spoke truer words or words more suited to our modern

American way of life than these in 59:14-15:

“Truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter; truth is

nowhere to be found.”

For Christians who serve God who sees all things, and for Christians

who work so as to please God, there should be strictness, a

scrupulousness that sets us apart from our culture and its way of doing

work.

1. There should be no personal use of company materials unless

explicitly permitted. That is, after all, what Judas did.

2. There should be no fudging, even by a penny, on requests for

reimbursement or in computing our expenses and the like. No

misrepresentation of ourselves or our work to others or that of

another in order to make a better impression on our boss or

others at work.

Contribution of biblical principles and values to Human Resource

Management practice in terms of Compensation

The Bible states (Leviticus 19:13): "You shall not oppress your fellow

and you shall not rob; the wages of a worker shall not remain with you

overnight until morning." This is the law that an employer must pay

employees on time. Withholding payment due workers is a violation of

Biblical law. Many organizations violate the spirit of this law by not

completing a new contract with their employees when the old contract

expires or by terminating or reducing employee benefits such as health

insurance, pension, etc. (Marc, 2001, pp. 58-80.)


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Further, the Bible requires the master to give his or her slave a

severance gift known as hanakah. Consider Deuteronomy 15:13-14 which

says "Do not send him away empty-handed. You shall give him a

severance gift from your flocks, from your threshing floor, and from your

wine cellar ..." An ethical employer should realize that if the Bible

demands that a slave be given a severance bonus after six (6) years of

labor, it is certainly appropriate for employers to reward loyal workers who

have been with a firm for numerous years (Marc, 2001,pp. 58-80.)

In reading the passage from Matthew 20:1-16 (the parables of the

workers in the vineyard), an employer uses an unusual approach to

employee compensation. What would happen today if a business owner

paid his workers in the same manner as the landowner Jesus described in

His parable? One would want to know if the landowner was

unfair. Shouldn’t a business owner be able to do what he wants with his

money? This question still lies at the heart of employer-employee

disputes. What is a fair wage? Should a Christian in business pay workers

more than a non-Christian business owner? Is it possible to avoid conflict

over wages, or is this simply a fact of business life?

Throughout the Scriptures, God expresses His opposition to people

who mistreat or abuse those under their authority. In Malachi 3:5, for

instance, God promises harsh judgment against those who “defraud

laborers of their wages.” James 5:4 presents another stern warning for

those who fail to pay their workers and in Deuteronomy 24:14,15 God

gives His commands concerning poor and needy workers.

Employing others carries with it an awesome responsibility. In a

sense, God employs us so we can employ others. Today, the workplace

can be the focal point for many kinds of conflict, much of it related to
Human
Resources Management 21
money. How can we know we are acting fairly and justly? Only by

believing—and acting upon—the truths and principles in God’s Word.

Contribution of biblical principles and values to Human

Employee Empowerment and Development

2Kings 2:1-11 Elisha was willing to remain with Elijah even on his

final journey to heaven. Employees who have willing employers who want

to empower or develop them should also emulate this behavior. It is

necessary for a manager to seek divine intervention so as to provide

relevant training to the employee who deserves since ‘ a manager cannot

see all the potential in the employees’(Nyambegera, 2005, p.116).

However, in today’s working society, a review of the academic

qualifications is also necessary since this serves as a benchmark for all

the employees recruited in an organization. On the job training. Jesus

recruited his disciples and worked with them on the job for three years

then he ascended. He had taught them how to pray, cast out demons,

heal the sick and witness the Love of God. It is therefore important to

build the staff capacity after recruiting the right candidate to ensure that

the desired goal is achieved and the staff have confidence the given

assignment (Nyambegera, 2005, p.116).

It is a wrong impression that employees are allowed to follow what

their superiors and Chief Executive Officer dictate when in reality

employee empowerment has become a norm in the work place. It has to

do with enabling or authorizing certain employees to think, behave, take

action and control the work in the office. This empowered employee could

also decide on autonomous matters (http://www.hrbible.com/team-

building/what-is-employee-empowerment).
Human
Resources Management 22
Contribution of biblical principles and values to Human Resource

Management practice in terms of Employee Health and Safety

Employer should take into consideration what they require in the

workplace. Too much workload may affect their health. In 1 Kings 12: 4,7

the people of Israel pleaded with King Rehoboam to lighten their work but

he ignored their request which resulted in rebellion among the labourers

and division. This means companies have an obligation to consider

employees needs on health and safety.

When employees are treated with dignity the employees are

motivated to work harder and more efficiently’(Nyambegera, 2005, p.96).

In Luke 2:7, the bible talks of a centurion servant whom his master

highly valued that when he was about to die, he sent some elders to ask

Jesus to heal him, and indeed at the word of Jesus his servant was healed.

The employer should be concerned with the health and safety of his

employees, provide conducive working environment and provide for

medical treatment especially where the condition is work related.

Biblical aspects of Human Resource practice that are not relevant

for the 21st Century

In reading the passage from Matthew 20:1-16 (the parables of the

workers in the vineyard), a critic can comment that the gospel writers

never referred to equality as a value to be desired. Concern with equality

tended to be associated with the enemies of Jesus. Equality was not a

direct subject of Jesus' teaching. It came up indirectly when people

objected to what he taught, usually by way of misunderstanding. His

concerns were different. We see it in the parable of the workers in the


Human
Resources Management 23
vineyard who were all paid an equal amount regardless of how long they

had worked:

Those who had worked all day received the normal wages which had

been agreed, but others who had worked less than a day were given the

same as a full day's pay, which was more than they deserved. The

workers who had been out in the heat all day objected.

Equality was given when not deserved, or in spite of merit, and

might be said to have been a higher value recognized by Jesus, but that

was not the point of the story. His message in the parable was about the

goodness and grace of God, who never gives people less than they

deserve, and will often give much more than anyone has a right to expect

-- as in those other parables about the forgiveness of debtors (Luke 7:39-

50), and the bountiful harvest (Mark 4:26-29).

Conclusion

Of all the people, Christians should be in the forefront in the

implementation of sound human resource management principles. This is

so because first, every Christian has been given the task or commission to

go therefore and make disciples of all people according to Matthew 28:19.

In other words, every Christian has the task of leading others to Christ.

This requires human resource management qualities. Second, all Christian

belong to organized bodies called churches. Churches have human

resource management functions which require a lot of people to accept

positions of authority. Indeed the Bible encourages Christians to aspire or

desire to be managers in 1 Timothy 3:1 where whoever aspires to the

office of bishop desires a noble task.

In managing people, sound human resources management values

and principles in Christians facilitate the growth both in church and in


Human
Resources Management 24
governments. Without this knowledge, Christians are limited in capacity to

perform. Therefore, it is important for us all to use human resources

management values and principles so that we can improve our qualities

and use them to serve God and our fellow human beings and contribute

positively in all human resource management-related matters.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active.

Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul

and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the

heart.” While the Bible was written more than 2000 years ago, its

accuracy and relevance for today remain unchanged because it is

revelation God has given us about Himself and His plan for humanity. It

was applicable then and still is today until the master comes back.

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