Scripture teaches that our work is sacred. We are meant to work hard, as unto the Lord Himself (Colossians 3:23), using the strength, skill, intellect and other abilities that He has given us. Since our labours are an offering unto the Lord and are meant to honour Him in this world, He will hold accountable those who mistreat workers. James 5:4 is a chilling indictment against those who defraud their workers. The stolen wages are described as “crying out” as a witness against the oppressors, and the apostle assures us that “the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.”
When I read the first six verses of James’s epistle, I think of Pakistan and weep for our Christian family members who live there. The passage is a perfect description of the injustice and abuse experienced by most of Pakistan’s 4 million Christians. With nearly 230 million people, Pakistan is the world’s fifth most populous nation. It has an officially Islamic system of government, and 98% of Pakistanis are Muslim. Though it is accurate to describe Christians as “second-class citizens” under Pakistan’s Islamic law, that phrase may understate the severity of the oppression.
Most Christians in Pakistan are born into economic systems in which, unless they renounce Christ, their only employment opportunities will be undesirable, labour-intensive jobs such as cleaning sewage pipes or making bricks by hand. Even worse, many are forced from birth to perform these tasks within financial schemes that keep them in permanent bondage to their Muslim employers. Christian women, in particular, suffer under employers’ back-breaking quotas, and some Christian young women face the threat of being forced into a Muslim marriage.
We treasure our land of opportunity in which we are able to honour God and receive just reward for our labours. And rightly so. But what about the millions of our Christian brothers and sisters in Pakistan who will never experience that kind of opportunity in this world? It is important for me to glorify God and encourage you by sharing that even in the darkness of this oppression, our brothers and sisters experience the joy and peace of the Lord. God is that great and that good. That truth should encourage us all as we face our own trials.
We must love Pakistani Christians — our dear brothers and sisters for eternity — as much as we love ourselves. This love should then lead us to remember them in prayer and consider acts of service that will bless and encourage them.
In Christ’s service,
Our Executive Producer,