Show Me the Money
When a Christian person talks about money, he means ... 'how men use God-given natural resources, ideas and energy to meet their human needs and glorify Him.' It's the simple Biblical principal of Christian Economics.
Irish poet Jonathan Swift put his finger on it when he said, 'A wise man will have money in his head, but not in his heart.'
These are the people who will not steal, have strong worth and work ethics and production; who save and invest and acquire, and who have concern for their prosperity and the needs of others.
Charles Wolfe (1791- 1823) put it in a formula like this: Natural Resources + Human Energy x Tools = Man's Material Welfare.
While some of the free world abandoned the basic principles that produced it's prosperity, they are still the most prosperous of nations.
That prosperity had a beginning, and should not be forgotten. You'll find that with the exceptions of unexpected minerals and gems that exploded beneath their feet, their hard working ethics that produced the money beginnings were Biblically based.
COMPARISONS: Nowadays, to buy a kilo of bread, a factory worker in Moscow must work 18-minutes, in London 12-minutes, and 8-minutes in Canberra. To afford a car, that work time is 35-months in Moscow, 8.5-months in London and 4.1-months in Adelaide. So, he that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.
In Havana or Jakarta, you will find that clothing is 1/4 the price of the same thing in Australia.
While this may benefit the western traveller, it alternatively represents a poverty existence for third world people.
EARNINGS: Western incomes average 6-to-10 times that of others. So we spend more on a change of underwear than these people spend for a week s food.
Riches won't buy happiness, and neither will poverty bring ease. If Charles Wolfe's equation applies to most country of the world, why then, you ask, are some nations in poverty?
We will come to see that those nations motivated by Biblical economic principles seem to be driven by an historic view of resources and labour, and may enjoy progress that the others do not have. This mindset gives western mankind a loftier value, and he increases. It is not because some nations possess greater natural resources than others. Lack of resources and money is no obstacle. Japan's success is an example. Lack of a worthy idea is.
LIBERTY WITHIN: The idea of a Christian economy revolves around and flows out of the heart of man from the internal liberty that Christ's Salvation brings. That God-given freedom which begins internally is manifested externally, and is the hub of the wheel of progress in a Christian economy a home or an enterprise. Others advance ignorant they benefit from it.
These people respect each other's property, will not steal or cheat one another, will agree upon a handshake and abide by it, even in the face of bribery, corruption and government bureaucracy. Everyone knows that excessive regulation and dishonesty stifles economic growth and sows the poison of domestic or national decay. So they agree to live beyond it.
FOUR LAWS: Thus, to maintain economic freedom, individuals may believe and practice Biblical disciplines. They should be industrious in earning money, be disciplined in saving money, be wise and cautious investing money, be obedient to Biblical law in how they share it with those in need. They should practice the self-denial necessary to restrain themselves from self gratification. And they provide for emergencies without having to turn to government social welfare for assistance. And they pay proper taxes.
And all this when the cynic would have you think that to save a little money each month means that at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have. But Wesley the 18th century preacher had the right idea. He taught the following: 1) earn all you can, 2) save all you can, and 3) give all you can!
IT BEGAN LIKE THIS: The title deed to property is labor. All property you possess was acquired by labor. You take title to your property in proportion to your labor or individual enterprise. Just as a Christian values the talents which God has placed in trust with him, so he carefully guards the use and disposal of his property. And he pays taxes to governments to protect and advance him, and to approve him earning more property.
TRANSPARENT MONEY: A Biblical economy has an honest value system. Leviticus 19:35 starts: 'You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weights or capacity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah (grain measure), and a just hin (liquid measure); I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt. You shall thus observe all My statutes, and all My ordinances, and do them; I am the Lord.'
DID IT CHANGE? Historically, exchange began with barter. Money makes exchange easier. Biblical money was gold and silver, which is money based on principle. Paper money is a substitute for principle money, and can be folded. If paper money is honest, it will be backed by principle money, but these days, this cannot be.
The world was on the gold standard throughout most of it's history, until it shifted to the silver standard in 1933. About 1968, our silver certificates were replaced with Federal Bank notes thus eliminating honest money from the nation. Today's money is not backed by anything except the government's promise that it is good. Compared to the 1932 Australian Pound, today's Au$2 is worth about 5c. Yet, an ounce of gold today will purchase about the same amount of goods that an ounce of gold bought 100 years ago.
Money with no precious metal backing is called 'fiat-money' and allows the governments to spend more than the taxes it collects because it can print new money anytime there is a need. This is inflationary. That's why I say I have enough money to last me the rest of my life unless I buy something.
Realistically, commerce, the military, government, and R & D could not exist in today's world without the credit system that fiat-money provides. But a modest diligent Christian family could, and hopefully should grow with the use of as little credit as possible. In fact, an industrious Christian family should never borrow for the purchase of a depreciating asset, and pay the interest they would have paid to themselves instead. Most immigrant families follow this practice while Australians gaze on in wonder.
INFLATION IS? Greg Anthony says that ... 'one of the Biblical signs of a nation backsliding is the condition of its currency and degree of honesty in its weights and measures. When nations began backsliding in history, dross (common-based-metal) began to appear in its coinage. In rebuking Israel from turning from God, Isaiah points out how your silver has become dross' (Isaiah 1:22).
Some think that inflation is simply an increase in prices. It is not. It is the symptom of a government increasing the money supply to pay for their budget deficits. When the money supply is increased, purchasing power falls and business increases prices to keep ahead of higher costs.
Anthony notes ... 'the only one to always benefit from inflation is the first one to spend money (the government).' It is a form of tyrannical taxation because as the government spends more and more money created from thin air, the citizens bank account goes down and down.
Inflation then, is theft, and remember, the Bible warns, 'thou shalt not steal' (Exodus 20:15).
In a perfect world, someone should warn the government or a family, to never spend money before they have it.
That's why the idea of easy welfare to the unemployed and unwilling is not Biblical and does not work. Money spent on welfare has increased dramatically, so has the nation's poverty. Strangely, welfare increases poverty. These days around 30% of each welfare dollar actually reaches the poor. The other is consumed by bureaucracy.
NOT A SOLUTION: The harder a government fights poverty, the more it increases. Government money is not the solution.
That's why a Biblically-based national economy will let the people have property, and hence, power.
John Locke (1632-1704) observed ... 'For men being His workmanship of one Omnipotent and infinitely Wise Maker; All the Servants of one Sovereign Master, sent into the world by His Order and about His business, they are His property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during His, not one another's pleasure.'
Thus, a family economy (or a nation) built on Biblical principles provides the road upon which the wheels of economic progress can turn with greater efficiency. And everyone benefits.
Such a government will be ... 'limited in its functions and cost, to have just enough power to guard the citizen's rights, but not the power to interfere with honest economic activity.'
TRIBUTE AND DYING: Another word for taxes is tribute. If the Bible requires only 10% for civil government, taxing more would imply the taking of greater allegiance. This is idolatry, and that's what the first of the commandments is all about.
Civil governments in the free world in direct violation of Biblical law, owns all the land in the country, and rents some of it to its citizens. If you do not pay property taxes, you will be evicted. This is theft.
The government has no right whatsoever to tax property, as the principle of eminent domain is a claim to Deity. It is specifically forbidden in the Scriptures (I Samuel 81:14, I Kings 21, Ezekiel 46:18).
And nowhere the Bible allows the fruit of a man s labor to be taken from him after he dies and before his children receive it. This is one way that the earthly Kingdom of God and Society is continued and built.
The diligent parents of godly children should not have to watch them start at the bottom all over again.
By the Biblical method the children will be wealthier than their parents. This is so because the estate will continue to grow and be built up with each generation, with the fifty-year (Silver Jubilee) review (Leviticus 27:17, Numbers 36:4).
And obviously, as private estates grow and prosper, so do the taxes they pay. Everyone benefits.
TWO TAXES: The Bible mentions two kinds of taxes. One is the head or poll tax (Exodus 30:11-16). This tax supported the state and its duties. It was a uniform tax that each male over twenty years of age paid. It was small so that the poor would not be oppressed.
The other is the tithe—a tenth of each person's increase. It was given to the Priests for ecclesiastical and social functions. These days, it supports the churches and aspects of welfare and education and other social functions.
When citizens tithe, the amount of money the civil government would need to collect would be drastically less. When you give yours to God, He changes it from 'filthy lucre' into a 'sweet smelling savor' (I Timothy 3:8, Ephesians 5:2).
GROW RICH TOWARD GOD: Use your money while you're living, Do not hoard it to be proud. You can never take it with you, There's no pocket in a shroud. God can help you on no longer than the graveyard where you lie, And though you're rich while living, You're a pauper when you die. Use it then, some lives to brighten, As though life the weary plod, Place your bank account in heaven, And grow rich toward your God.
HISTORY: When a worker discovers he is paying more than 40% of his hard-earned in taxes, both he and the nation are heading for a doomsday.
In historic parlance it's called a depression, which seems to come around about every 200 years or so, after which most citizens, except the government, starts from the beginning again.
There is a Bible anecdote that tells of the economic decisions people made. It's a soft seduction by economic persuasion? (It's in the language of a metonomy: it refers to one thing while it is pointing to another.)
JUDGES 9: 7 Jotham climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, 'Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.'
8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king.'
9 But the olive tree answered, 'Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?'
10 Next, the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come and be our king.'
11 But the fig tree replied, 'Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?'
12 Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come and be our king.'
13 But the vine answered, 'Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?'
14 Finally all the trees said to the thorn-bush, 'Come and be our king.'
15 The thorn-bush said to the trees, 'If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!'
16 Now if you have acted honorably and in good faith when you made Abimelech king, and if you have been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family, and if you have treated him as he deserves—
17 and to think that my father fought for you, risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian
18 but today you have revolted against my father's family.
Question? Why did they choose the thorn-bush to reign over them?
Answer? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
And what was the cost?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
If you don't understand that, perhaps the next generation will tell you.
AT HOME: 'If you as parents cut corners, your children could too. If you lie, they may too. If you spend all your money on yourselves and tithe no portion of it for charities, colleges, churches, synagogues, and civic causes, your children are not likely to. And if parents snicker and argue, another generation will pass on by osmosis, the poison adults still have not had the courage to snuff out.'
JESUS: Almost one-quarter of everything Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount had something to do with money and possessions (Matthew 6).
Look at the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ in His stories about money. We may need other financial planners and lawyers to help us earn it, avoid corruption, anticipate taxes and retirement benefits, but we will never find anyone with more wisdom and concern for our own well-being and earning than Jesus, our Divine planner.
© Les Nixon firstname.lastname@example.org