Working conditions in England during the 19th century were abysmal. Men, women, and children labored in dangerous factories during the day and went home to dirty tenement slums at night. Many of the factory owners cared little for the well-being of their employees.
But during that time, the owners of the Cadbury chocolate company were different. Quakers by conviction and business entrepreneurs by giftedness, they focused on improving the working conditions of their 200 workers. The Cadburys built a state-of-the-art factory with heated dressing rooms, a kitchen, and recreational areas. And to care for the employees’ spiritual needs, the workday started with Bible study.
Colossians 4:1 tells us: “Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” Certainly the Cadburys sought to give their employees what was just and fair. But their heavenly orientation motivated them to go a step further to meet physical and spiritual needs.
Though we may not own a company, we do have regular contact with a variety of people. As believers, it is important to be ethical in our dealings. We can also, with God’s enablement, care about others’ well-being through prayer, encouragement, and the meeting of physical needs (Gal. 6:10).