Prov. 11:1 π Ezek. 28:16 π Ezek. 28:18 π Mt. 6:19-21 π Mt. 6:24 π Mt. 6:25 π Mt. 6:33 π Mt. 25:14-30 π Mt. 25:24 π Mt. 25:30 π Lk. 9:23 π Jn. 14:23 π Jn. 16:33 π Jn. 17:15-16 π Rom. 14:17 π 1 Cor. 4:20 π 1 Cor. 7:31 π 2 Cor. 4:7 π Gal. 2:20 π Phlp. 4:6 π 1 Tim. 6:5-8 π 1 Tim. 6:9 π Jas. 1:21 π 1 Jn. 2:15-17 π 1 Jn. 3:8 π 1 Jn. 5:4-5 π Rev. 13:17 π Rev. 14:9-12
At least one financial advisor divides all types of financial income gathering into four categories or types (employees, self-employed, business owners and investors) and uses these types to explore the various kinds of soulish characteristics required to be one or more of these economic types. These types offer surprisingly great depth of analysis and understanding of the economic environment of this world. But in this dividing of “all” types into these four categories, no place is left for the true follower of Christ who simply wants God to be first and foremost in his life and who wants all of his resources used to build God’s kingdom (and not his own), a kingdom not to be confused with the many personal fiefdoms and private playgrounds of the “church” and its “pastors.”
Consider the following observations and items and note that they are not nearly as random or disconnected as they might at first seem:
- The seekers of financial freedom most often utilize the tactic of using other people for their own gain. Landlords, business owners and developers and financial investors and bankers all glean their passive income directly from the pockets and backs of others – and this is seen as sound, desirable business practice. Some who garner their income in this manner then speak openly of their “God-given assets.”
- Though many wealthy individuals see employment as little more than indentured slavery – and they themselves would not seek employment except as a last resort under desperate circumstances and then only as a means to gather resources for their next capital venture – these see nothing wrong with employing others in situations they themselves, in an honest moment, would call little more than exploitation.
- Capitalists and investors worldwide stand in a place where they can take on the role of God in the lives of those who come to them seeking counsel or investment capital. For the most part only those who have a “sound business strategy” and a “proven track record” – those who acquiesce to and excel in what many call “the money game” – are considered worthwhile risks and therefore candidates to receive investment capital. All else are told to go themselves an education about getting into and winning “the money game,” which focuses mainly on and celebrates most the acquisition of personal wealth.
- Small business advisors and consultants unabashedly preach the pursuit of wealth – the “gospel of wealth” is a phrase even openly used in some circles – as the only viable means to start and run a “successful” business. Jesus still says, however, “You cannot serve God and mammon [riches, wealth]…” ( Mt. 6:24 ) and Paul’s warning still stands, “Those who desire to be rich [wealthy] fall into temptation and a snare…” ( 1 Tim. 6:9; top )
- Some advisors lean heavily on the formula of “Be, Have, Do,” rightly stressing the mentally and emotionally healthier approach to life than is the “first find out what you need to do” mentality. Some have even preached the message as “Do what you love and the money will follow.” But the usual advice that accompanies this wisdom is “Learn to play the money game in order to gain financial freedom.”
- Some advisors insist that since we live in the so-called “Information Age,” we can no longer expect to live and thrive under the rules that operated in the “Industrial Age” or the “Agrarian Age.” While there is truth in view here, hidden from view is that we still need to eat and must always rely on agrarian enterprises. The Industrial Age and the government have stepped in to make farming something very different from the personal, sustainable lifestyle of an only homestead (which contributed and tied into a strong family life) and changed it into what can only be called mass-product food “factories” kept operational by ongoing infusions of government subsidies and loans that keep the farmer locked into an ongoing cycle of dependence on the government.
- Particularly observable in the U.S. (and presumably many other countries have similar policies toward business), the laws favor those who play “the money game.” The average employee and person untaught in economic matters is a sheep among ravenous wolves and not even the labor and trade unions are capable of keeping the business owners and the government from taking a disproportionate amount of his income. Wealthy individuals quickly learn to hide and shelter their assets in “untouchable” corporate and financial structures and they themselves pay little or nothing in taxes.
- Proof of economic “conspiracy” against various types of people abounds – it is widely recognized that various ultra wealthy families and individuals control vast sums of wealth and redirect in directions they think best (and then they often scoff at “utopian dreamers”!) – but politicians, growing ever more corrupt and ever more reliant on large donations in order to gain their lucrative “public service” career, continue to enact and support laws and measures that favor big business.
- “By the abundance of [Lucifer’s] trading [he] became filled with violence within and [he] sinned… [He] defiled [his] sanctuaries by the multitude of [his] iniquities, by the iniquity of [his] trading…” ( Ezek. 28:16 , 18; top )
Commerce and trading in this world, is, near its heart and root and foundations, a function of Satanic worldliness – thus its close association with and proximity to corruption, dishonest and many other wicked practices. The divinely conscious follower of Christ and God has always been called to honest business practices ( Prov. 11:1 , etc.) as he balances between being in this world but not of it ( Jn. 17:15-16 , 1 Cor. 7:31 ) – a balance rarely easy to maintain. In the end, all trading will be openly brought under Satanic control ( Rev. 13:17 ) and the true follower of Christ will have to choose between the resources of this world and his eternal destiny and security in Christ. ( Rev. 14:9-12; top ) Those who are indulging themselves in the things of this world now will have great difficulty relinquishing them in the days to come.
God’s kingdom – characterized by spiritual power, love, peace, joy and righteousness in His Spirit ( 1 Cor. 4:20 , Rom. 14:17 , etc.) transcends the economies of this world and is not bound by or subject to all of its rules. Jesus still says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ( Mt. 6:19-21 ) He also said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on… But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [the food and clothes you truly have need of] shall be added to you.” ( Mt. 6:25 , 33; top )
Paul’s instruction still stands, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” ( Phlp. 4:6 ) And, “…from [those who suppose that godliness is a means of gain] withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” ( 1 Tim. 6:5-8; top )
The financial business and money-making systems of this world stand in stark contrast to the kingdom of God. The first is based on systematic taking while the latter is based on divinely-inspired and directed giving. The people of this world measure wealth in terms of how much wealth one can use, keep and control and for how many generations that control can be maintained. Christ measures wealth from an eternal perspective that places value on things this world can only vaguely define: faith, love, life, beauty and truth. As the people of Christ surrender more to the systems of this world – and God help all of us who struggle with the balance of being in the world but not of it – the result can only be growing darkness. By what foolishness can we think that we can give up the very things that make us different from the world and still be like Christ who stands opposed to all that this world is all about? ( 1 Jn. 2:15-17 , 3:8 , 5:4-5 , etc.; top)
Unlike the money system of this world, in God’s kingdom there is no one, single, bottom-line number that we can calculate and then say without question that we have arrived at our net profit of loss. Life is just not that simple and God does not allow Himself or His ways to come under our control. Thus men of this world, whose understanding is darkened because of their distance, separation and alienation from God, bemoan things such as the poor quality of the Bible as a manual for living. The Bible is not a manual written to give modern man a way to take personal control over every aspect of his life in this world. Rather, it is an introduction, a doorway, a window of opportunity to meet, know and obey the God of life and truth from whom we – both as individuals and as a species – have fallen away from and even waged war against. That God would even make such a window and work so hard to draw us to and through that window stands as testimony of just how transcendent His love, mercy and grace is.
We can continue to strive for mastery over this world by playing the money game or any of the other “games” this world has to offer (the power game, played equally well by politicians and “pastors” alike, is another popular one in “Christian” circles) or we can, by faith, deny our self, take up our cross and follow Him who has already overcome this world at its deepest and most fundamental and foundational levels. ( Lk. 9:23 , Jn. 16:33; top )
In a parable that utilizes the ideas, if not the language, of passive income and investment, Jesus spoke of three kinds of people who were each given a sum of money (see Mt. 25:14-30 ) In Bible times a “talent” was a weight equivalent to about 93 pounds. The parable speaks of 8 “talents” (approximately 744 pounds) that represented a significant portion, perhaps most or nearly all, of the master’s possessions which he was entrusting to his servants. If this were talents of gold, this was a substantial investment. These eight talents were given to three men, two of whom doubled what had been given to them. The third man, however, dug a hole and buried and hid his master’s gold. This third man was cast out into outer darkness. (v. 30; top )
The talent in this parable does not represent our stewardship of money. It represents the divine life God has planted within our souls. ( Jn. 14:23 , Jas. 1:21 , etc.) It is His life that is on display in our earthen vessels. ( 2 Cor. 4:7 , Gal. 2:20; top ) It is this investment that God intends we should bring forth an increase and return on. How we utilize money is only one miniscule part of that equation.
But those who see no problem with earning their passive income from the pockets and backs of others should take note of the third man’s description of the master (who in this parable represents God) – “I know you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.” ( Mt. 25:24; top ) Those who do not use their real “God-given assets” – this “talent” of divine life within – to bring forth a return on His investment, experience His wrath and judgment. Any who allow their pursuit of this world’s wealth, comforts and securities to cover up and hide the God-given assets of His life within will find that they will receive precisely the same treatment as the third man in Christ’s parable as they too will be cast into outer darkness. Those who utilize their genuine God-given assets – of which the utilization and usage of money is only one small portion – in order to bring forth an increase of God’s kingdom, will be brought into the joy and reward of life everlasting in the Master’s presence.
Conducting business, in and of itself, is not wrong. We all must eat and drink and live. But when the conducting of honest business in order to have enough to live life and seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness becomes the pursuit of wealth so as to be “secure” or comfortable or comparable to worldly standards, our business has crossed from the realms of righteousness into the realms of lawlessness (what is right in our own eyes) and we will reap the consequences for being negligent with our genuine God-given assets.
Let he who has ears hear.
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