Ever thought how much we need others to help us obtain everything we need. After all how many of us can grow all our own food? Do we know how to keep sheep, separate the sheep from its fleece, then use that fleece to make cloth and then use that cloth to make comfortable clothes?
Very few of us know how to do even part of that for ourselves. What do we do instead? Most of us these days go to a shop and buy clothes. In other words we would struggle to survive if other people did not meet our needs.
The mechanism by which our needs are met is commonly known as the marketplace. People go to the marketplace with things to sell. Others come looking to buy the things that they need. The marketplace is all about trading or doing business.
The Christian viewpoint
The sad thing is that so many Christians struggle to understand that business is an essential component of everyday life. They see it as something to be afraid of. They fear being greedy. They fear making money. They fear having enough in case their heart grows cold.
God help us! No wonder we look at things that need to be done in this world and say we cannot help you because we do not have any money. We go round with our hands out begging for money so that we can do good works and ignore the very mechanisms that God has put in place to help His people gather wealth.
It is as if they have taken the words of Jesus and adapted them to suit themselves. Sound harsh? What does the Great Commission say? Go into the world and make disciples or go into all the world apart from the marketplace and make disciples.
Why then do we complain about the darkness in the world of business. If there is no salt in it to preserve it then it will smell rotten. If there is no light in it then it will be dark. If we have retreated or just not got involved then the marketplace will not feel the impact of a Christian presence.
How did we get here?
It struck me one day that the Jews in Jesus’s day had picked up something that many modern Christians don’t. God wants to make those who follow Him prosperous. Not only that but He has hidden the basic principles of wealth creation in His word.
If that is the case how would such people view the poor? Wouldn’t it be a case of what is wrong with you if you were not prospering? So those wealthy leaders in the Jewish community who knew the Word and had learnt those principles would look down on the poor.
The poor were not just seen as being a practical problem but they were seen as having a spiritual problem. After all if they had learnt the principles of wealth creation in the bible then they would not be poor.
A God that loves the world and that defends the widow and the fatherless could not let His Son stay silent in that situation. Jesus therefore complained about the bad attitude of the rich. A God that loves everyone would not be happy when some of those He loved were being looked down on like that.
A different perspective
Ever been around a family where the youngest child has learnt not to do this that or other because it upsets their parents. They have watched their older brothers and sisters do things that upset their parents and they are determined that they are not going to be like them and upset their parents. I mean they know where the line is and they will not cross it. They might not have quite understood exactly what an older brother or sister did to upset their parents. If that is the case then they might make a different mistake for what seems to be a good reason. Or they might just not dare to do anything that their older siblings have done in case it upsets their parents.
Do you see where I am coming from with this? What if a good part of the Christian narrative around money is based on a similar scenario. We cannot do this because they got told off for it. Imagine though if God wants us to do things but we are struggling to get over our fear because we are like the younger sibling.
That is why in my book Financing Kingdom Work there is a chapter on Kingdom thinking about finances. How can we expect God to help us gain all the money that we need to do the work He wants us to if we try and do things our way rather than His?
Remember what the father of the boy that the disciples tried to heal but struggled with said to Jesus. It was a case of doing it this way does not help the situation so the father was challenged about what he believed. His response was a request for help with his unbelief. I wonder what would happen if more of us chased after God to deal with any unbelief in our lives, including any inaccurate beliefs about money.