Forklift Theology

Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.

Greed or need?

I am going to just get to the point. It has been my experience that all companies are simply greedy for gain. Worse still is that the bigger a company gets, the greedier it gets. Sadly when that happens, something worse happens, employees are mistreated. Yes, this is a problem we had at the beginning of the industrial age. Corporations would exploit their employees, working them for as many hours a weeks as they could, giving no real pause to an employee or their needs. Often such companies would marginalize and trivialize any employee who sought to improve things or expressed concern about something more than their labors.

Sadly, this malady has come full circle. Yes, the early labor union movement sought to end this and were largely successful. However, it now seems that is all coming undone. Part of the problem is nonunion companies might ignore rules that unions are required to enforce, such as limitations regarding how long per day any given employee may work. However, the unions are not necessary angelic either, and some unions will falsify time cards in order to get an employee to work longer hours, but change the paperwork to look like fewer hours were actually worked. Sad truth, companies that have become too greedy are poised for failure.

Christ Jesus had this to say about being greedy for gain “a man can not serve two masters. He will come to love one and hate the other or despise the one and love the other. You can not serve both money and God”. Sad truth is that there are those who think that they can. In doing so, they will find any excuse to keep an employee at work, regardless of anything else an employee may have going on, even if it was pre-arranged weeks in advance. Little do they realize that they are not showing love to God when they mistreat an employee in this manner, rather they are bowing before an idol, money.

Let me be clear. In and of itself, money is neither good nor bad. Money, regardless of its form or material makeup, has no inherent value. Money is merely a symbolic device to represent the exchange of goods and services. Such being the case, money is only worth what we believe it is worth. In its purest form, money is merely a device to facilitate how many hours of work must be exchanged to keep lights on or put food on the table. Money also makes so that we can allocate number of work hours to obtain other items for either use of comfort. The problem is that we often come to believe money to be worth more that which it is meant to serve as the exchange medium for. Companies and individuals both do this.

In truth, nobody really needs a television, or a video game console. In fact, these items can easily become idols as well. Indeed, my personal experience involves a temp worker who merely wanted to earn enough money (the de facto medium of exchange) to purchase a Nintendo Wii (the idol desired). Certainly he saw that money had no inherent value, however, he did see it as a way to obtain something he desired, even more so than a job to provide for his basic needs. Suffice to say, he only lasted a week and only worked for two hours on the last day of that week. Somehow I doubt he really understood my argument that a video game console does not enhance one’s quality of life. Someday he might, but I will likely not know.

Is it possible for a company to grow without being greedy? Yes, it is theoretically possible. However, such a company should only seek to grow when it has reached a saturation point at which it becomes exceedingly difficult to do business at its present size. Sadly, the reverse is equally true, that a company should shrink if they they lose enough business that they can not maintain payroll and facilities or resources. However, any company that is able to grow with truly being greedy will be one that does not marginalize or trivialize its employees and their concerns. Such companies will have the type of internal customer service that reflects back as superior external customer service. These companies are the ones that genuinely care about their employees and their customers recognize that.

What about our personal lives? Yes, we need to money to survive and pay the bills. However, we should not think to be greedy for gain is to our advantage. If anything, being so greedy that all we think to do is build up our bank books and acquisitions will only lead to poor health and misery. Furthermore, such a life is highly sinful. When we live only for personal gain, we tend to mistreat those around us, as if by causing them harm and grief, we can somehow elevate our own social class or quality of life. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, by mistreating others, we lower our standards and reduce our quality of life, making ourselves into dreadfully miserable and miserly creatures with no true sense of value.

Interestingly, Jesus also had something to say about wealth. He said to “lay up for yourselves treasure in Heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal”. So it is that true riches are not found here upon the Earth anyway. Anything we might ascribe as having value today is worthless tomorrow. Only by living according to God’s word do we find true wealth, which is the righteousness of God and his salvation. Salvation won for us by our savior when he died upon the cross for our sins.

People, just like most companies, are greedy. Greed, regardless of what some alien race in Star Trek might claim, is NOT good at all. Greed is sin, regardless of who you think you are. Having enough for your needs is one thing, being greedy for gain with little concern for others is wickedness. No person or business that mistreats others should stand. At the last day we will all give an account of what we have done, including what we did to “get ahead”. Think carefully of the account you may find yourself giving. Will you be found to have lived for greed, or for need?


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This entry was posted on 08/04/2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .
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