God’s economy: count your cost

God workingThe more I read the Bible the more I realize that God is an accountant and a businessman. The Bible is full of measurements and counting and even records the monetary and numerical values of many things, even people. For example, God told Moses the monetary worth of a first born son whom Israel must give to redeem. Jesus talked about budgeting and counting cost (Luke 14:28-32), maximizing available resources (Luke 14:23), managing and giving account of money and investment with integrity and business acumen (Luke 16:1-2, 8), no wasteful spending or misplacement of money (Luke 15:8,13, 16:1), due diligence, financial and economic wisdom to manage, use, invest and produce monetary returns for money capital (Mathew 25:14-30).

In my previous blogs I have briefly shared on the requirement of every Christian to work and earn for himself (and family) and have more to share with others in need. That means there are always those in need. Jesus said there will always be the poor. But He did not say Christians are to remain poor and in need. I have just completed listening to a series of  financial teaching on the subject of “Prosperity” for Christians. The teacher said something to which I had not paid much attention previously. He said that America is a blessed land and indeed there are many opportunities to make wealth. He taught that God has given His people the power and ability to make wealth through work and there is no reason why anyone should continue to receive financial aids from others (or the government). Having been living with some of the poorest people groups in the world, I fully agree to this point. Many people in the world would gladly take the income level that America considers as poverty level (according to U.S. Census Bureau Poverty Thresholds, 2014: for a family of Three people with two related children US$19,073).

America is blessed with ample physical and other economic resources for a gainful employment whether through working for others or working for your own business. Wealth is being made and earned daily by those who live in this nation. Many people groups in the world try hard to have an access into this economy and have a gainful employment or an opportunity to invest and make wealth here.  When I did this study by random reading on some of the financial and economic and business information online, I realized the scope of opportunities for America. Offhand I can come up a list of works an average individual in this country can do to live well, regardless whether you are a Christian or not.

I have one more point my spirit wants me to say here. I speak this to Christian churches and members: Don’t be fooled by the so called “prosperity” teaching that churches and Christians can receive prosperity without having to work. If you don’t work you are actually relying on others to work. Every dollar you receive as a pastor or a church worker comes from a giving of money from another member or another person who has worked according to the Bible (God’s requirement) to work hard. Money does not fall from the sky except on some rare miraculous events when a mishap happens somewhere else and the cash is blown to where you happen to be around. Where does the money come from? Who owns it? The person(s) who have worked and earned it is the rightful owner. Where do lottery money come from? From the many people who pay for it. Where do government welfare subsidies come from? From people who have paid taxes according to the country’s legal requirement. The government cannot print more money than its overall economic production and earnings. Some governments do and get into huge debts which it could not repay. Some governments go into bankruptcy to avoid paying debts. In the olden days such people groups were taken into slavery by their creditors. Bible principles. Jesus has said the same. If you cannot pay your debts you go to jail until you have paid the last penny. (Luke 12:58-59)

Application: list out all your outstanding debts, the amount (monthly installment) and dates you need to pay regularly; list out all regular net income (including the amount you can save by cutting down on expenses) after deducting your essential expenses. If your net income is less than your total monthly loan repayment commitment, you need to seek a financial counseling from your church. I would suggest that each church appoints qualified and godly individuals who can give specialized financial and debt management counseling.

Some Bible verses on work: (a word search on “work” from NKJV shows 720 results of which 225 are from New Testament, 19 times in Revelations.) (I have added boldness and/or italics to highlight).
JESUS spoke seven times to the churches in Revelation, “I know your works,”

God has set a a work standard: out of seven days He worked six days. (Genesis 2:2) Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed. (Exodus 23:12)
Genesis 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him.
Proverbs
16:3 Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.
18:9 He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.
22:29 Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.
24:27 Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.
31:13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.

New Testament teaching
1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
2 Thessalonians 3:8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.2 Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 2 Thessalonians 3:12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay herein fear;
James 2:20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
A law between sowing and reaping:
2 Corinthians 9:6 [ The Cheerful Giver ] But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.