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The Uncertainty of Riches

May 29, 2010 2 comments

The Apostle Paul gives some really timely instruction regarding finances in 1 Timothy 6. Here’s a quick overview. . .

First, it’s better to make gains in godliness than wealth. As we brought nothing into the world, so we won’t take anything out of it either (1 Tim.6:6,7).

Second, food and covering should bring contentment. This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to have more than mere necessities, but we should learn to be content when God is meeting our basic needs (1 Tim.6:8).

Third, those who want to get rich fall into temptation, and end up ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin (1 Tim.6:10).

Fourth, the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. Note, it’s not money itself that leads to evil, but the love of it (1 Tim.6:10).

Fifth, those who are rich in this present world should not be conceited or fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1 Tim.6:17).

Sixth, those who are rich should also seek to do good and be rich in good works. By being generous they store up for themselves a good foundation for the blessings of everlasting life (1 Tim.6:18,19).

The Bible and Economics (on radio)

April 8, 2010 1 comment

I’ll be discussing the Bible and economics with Jerry Hughes this afternoon on his Straight Talk radio program.

The segment runs from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., and can be heard live at WWAB 1330 AM (Lakeland) or via the Internet at the Accent Radio Network.

A link should also be available sometime after the program.

The Fate of All Towers of Babel

From The Chalcedon Foundation . . .

“At Babel, men resumed the task in process before the Flood. At Sodom and Gomorrah, Assyrian, Babylon, Rome, and in the modern states, men continue that task. The results are still the same, God’s destroying judgment on man’s Babylonian heart and works. The things which are, God subjects to His shaking, His destroying judgments, so that only those things which cannot be shaken may remain (Heb. 12:18-29).

Man’s attempt to unify man in his sin and revolt against God, and to take owner ownership and control over all possessions from their true owner, God, is smashed. All possessions are a trust from the Lord; the status of civil government is that of a minister (Rom. 13:4), i.e., a deacon or a steward, under God, and the same is true of all men.

This being the case, our work too is a stewardship and a trusteeship and is to be governed accordingly. When God created Adam, and set him in the Garden of Eden, He first commanded Adam to till or work the Garden, and to keep or guard it (Gen. 2:15). Only after that commandment to work is Adam told what he is permitted to eat (Gen. 2:16-17). Before the permission to eat of the fruits and produce came the necessity of being committed to work for the upkeep of the Garden. There were boundaries placed on Adam’s area, i.e., the limits of the Garden, on his diet, and on his activities or work, because the earth and Adam were alike God’s creation and hence totally subject to His law-word.

In Babel, this order was reversed. The city, its tower, and both work and possessions therein were the property of Babel. Stewardship and responsibility were to the state, and work also. In the modern state, we are totally circumscribed by man’s law, not God’s. The boundaries of our life and work, as well as the uses of our money, are regulated by the state. This is the nature of every Tower of Babel, past and present. The future of all Babels is described by the angel of Revelation 14:8, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

The church at its worst has never equalled the modern state in its tyranny. It is a mark of the self-willed blindness of our time that men profess to fear a return to Christian rule rather than the statist tyranny which prevails.”

~ R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, p. 1035f

How taxes helped destroy the Roman Empire

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Kairos Journal has posted an insightful article explaining how taxes helped destroy the Roman Empire.  The parallels with our own situation makes this well worth reading. . .

How Taxes Helped Destroy the Roman Empire

What caused the decline and fall of the Roman Empire? Historians have debated this question for centuries and offered numerous and varied explanations. One has a strangely contemporary ring: Rome collapsed because the vitality of her empire and the loyalty of her subject peoples were extinguished by big government and oppressive taxation.    Continue article. . .

The gateway not taken

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Sad but true.  We are generally unwilling to face the short-term pain necessary to set us free from enduring problems. . .

Whether we are considering a toothache, a tumor, a relational bind, a technical problem, crime, or the economy, most individuals and most social systems, irrespective of their culture, gender, or ethnic background, will “naturally” choose or revert to chronic conditions of bearable pain rather than face the temporarily more intense anguish of acute conditions that are the gateway to becoming free.  But what is also universally true is that over time, chronic conditions, precisely because they are more bearable, also tend to be more withering.

A Failure of Nerve:  Leadership in the Age of Quick Fix

~ Edwin Friedman

The roots of liberty and prosperity

We live in a time when a growing number of people are feeling insecure about their personal liberty and prosperity. At the same time, there is confusion about why this insecurity exists, and what to do about it. This presents us with a need to understand what the roots of liberty and prosperity actually are.

God made it clear from the beginning that He intended all who are made in His image to lead productive lives, cultivating the raw material of this world for good. He commanded that we be fruitful and multiply, and that we would take dominion over this earth and develop it.

The fulfillment of this call requires diligent, creative, and patient labor.

With the entrance of sin in this world, this task of dominion became difficult. There are thorns and thistles to contend with, and we labor by the sweat of our brow.

But the reality of sin also brought something else. It brought the need for protection from those who refuse to be faithful and productive themselves — and this led to the institution of civil government. Read more…

Business Principles

February 21, 2009 Leave a comment

The best business principles are biblical principles.  We talked about this at our last businessman’s lunch, and focused on these five principles in particular.

Trust. In order for business to function, there must be trust.  Without it, there is no confidence in the marketplace.  So,” let your yes be yes, and your no be no” (Mt.5:37).

Service. Businesses that are successful solve problems.  They serve the public through the meeting of needs.  So, “do not seek to be served, but serve” (Mt.20:28).

Employer/Employee Relations. A healthy business requires respect and good morale among employers and employees.  To bring this about, each party must remember that he or she is accountable to our Master in heaven.  So, whatever your position, “do your work as unto the Lord, rather than men” (Eph.6:7).

Hard Work. A poor economy can become an excuse for sloth.  But it’s diligence that leads to advantage and prosperity.  So, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecc.9:10)

Faith. Doing business is an act of faith, and it looks to God as provider and not the State.  So, “believe that God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb.11:6)

Business and Bravery

January 17, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve been preparing some talks for people who are involved in business. In my reading, I came along an excellent quote showing that doing business in a biblical way calls for bravery.

“The economic world is a battlefield, and it takes wit, bravery, and a strong will that is loath to retreat, much less surrender. The moral leadership of the church does not understand this very well. In my whole life I have never once heard (nor heard of) a sermon on the dangers of cowardice in the business world, much less on the virtues of bravery competing within it. But the parable of the pounds (in its context) is a strong warning against those who would erode the strong, aggressive, competitive spirit of behavior (particularly economic behavior) among Christians who believe that their king has given them pounds to trade until he comes. Let us beware lest we find ourselves feebly wrapping our pounds in pieces of cloth, covering lives of fear and escapism with pious excuses about God’s indifference to the things of the world, and his severity toward those who work within it.”

John R. Schneider in The Good of Affluence

Categories: Economics, Quotes

God and the Economy

November 6, 2007 Leave a comment

When people think about improving their economic situation, they normally think about things like interest rates, debt loads, and cash on hand. They don’t often think about God.

But perhaps we should get more accustomed to using “God” and “economy” in the same sentence. After all, God, as the owner of all that exists, gives us some vital economic principles in His Word. Just consider a few of them from the ten commandments (Ex.20).

In the first commandment God tells us that we are to have no other gods before Him. Nothing is to come before God in our devotion. Those who honor and obey Him in this He causes to prosper, while those who forget Him are eventually brought to ruin (Dt.8:18-20).

Could it be that our prosperity is eroding because we have taken obedience to God lightly, and have come to see honoring Him as unnecessary?

The fourth commandment tells us that six days we are to labor and do all our work, but the seventh is to be a day of rest. Here you’ll find the first rule of economics: “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” God intends for us to work, by the sweat of our brow, as the means of accumulating wealth.

But there is also another principle here, and that is that each week we are to take a day of rest. In doing so, we honor God as the true source of all gain.

Today both of these principles are commonly violated. How many struggle financially because they have come to depend on others rather than work hard themselves? And how many work every day to find that God always seems to take away on Monday what is made on Sunday?

The eighth commandment directs us not to steal. In doing so, the Bible affirms the all-important right of private ownership. By having the right to call things our own, we have a motive to discipline ourselves, work, and save for the future – activities from which many benefit as people find themselves in a position to start businesses or give to those in need.

But as the right to private ownership is stripped away, the motive to labor is taken with it, and many suffer as a result.

Is this not what is happening today as the state continues to plunder its citizens through increasingly excessive taxation?

The tenth commandment says, “Thou shall not covet.” God wants us to trust Him and learn contentment in every circumstance. But a covetous man cannot contain himself. Instead of patiently working and saving, he does whatever he can to get what he covets – now.

Does this not explain how we as individuals and a nation have become so saddled with debt? Have we not become enslaved by our own covetous hearts?

In his classic The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith spoke of an “invisible hand” that grants prosperity. That hand, of course, is the hand of God.

Tinkering with interest rates and the like may have their place. But such activities are merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic if we do not first turn to the one who brings blessing by His invisible hand.

Idolizing Democracy

September 5, 2007 2 comments

To idolize democracy as the solution to any nation’s ills is to trust in a god who will always fail. Democracy does not have the permanence necessary to serve as the foundation of a people. (Only God and His Word can provide that).

To better understand the limits of democracy, consider these words from Lord Thomas B. Macaulay written to an American friend in 1857. . .

“A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority (who vote) will vote for the candidates promising the greatest benefits from the public purse, with the result that a democracy will always collapse from loose fiscal policies, always followed by a dictatorship. “

Categories: Culture, Economics