Acts of Compassion Require Money

If you have heard me teach on finances you have likely heard me say the phrase, “You can’t give what you don’t have”. I mean to say that a sincere Christian can have a great desire to help people or support evangelism but if they lack the finances to give they cannot. Harold Eberle states this very well in his book Compassionate Capitalism: A Judea Christian Value:

If we want more compassionate capitalists, we need more capitalists. Compassionate people need capital.

Consider Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author of War and Peace. He owned a huge estate that employed hundreds of workers. Tolstoy was a generous man, caring for the needs of the peasants. After becoming a serious Christian he read our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount and then decided that he should sell everything and give the proceeds to the poor. Unfortunately his estate came in the possession of greedy owners who mistreated the peasants. In their plight, the peasants cried out to Tolstoy to deliver them, but he was no longer in a position to help. Tolstoy had given up his position of influence and power. As a result people suffered.

What is the lesson? Prosperous people can help others. Of course there may be a few individuals who God has called to a sacrificial life, owning little and spending most of their time in prayer. But the vast majority of God’s people should work six days a week and be productive. The more successful they are, the more they will have the power and authority to influence this world in a positive way.  

This applies at all levels. The medical doctor can only go on medical mission trips if he makes enough of money to take the time off and finance the mission. A business woman can only offer advanced training to her employees if her business is advancing. The business man can only fund an orphanage in Africa if he is making a profit. And the neighborhood boy can only mow the lawn of the disabled homeowner if he has a lawn mower. People cannot be compassionate capitalists unless they are first capitalists.

I wonder what opportunities we could give to if we put ourselves in the place of having the resources (abundance) to give?

Source

Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo-Christian Valueby Harold Eberle, 2010, Worldcast Publishing. Pg. 121-122

 

 

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Abundance or Lack

How do we see the world? Is it from a place of abundance or a place of lack? When we have a mindset of lack we believe that everything is limited. However, when we have an abundance mindset, we believe there’s plenty for everyone.

Lack leads us to live in fear and self-preservation. Everything is limited. Love. Money. Time. We make fear-based decisions. We are afraid of missing out. We are afraid of not having enough. We see other peoples gifts and think that is for them and there is non for us. This is a poor man’s mentality. A socialist thinks in terms of limited resources.

A mentality of abundance leads us to believe there is plenty of prosperity to go around. We are optimistic about the future because we are expecting more. We tend to think things will work out even if there are challenges along the way. We plan and make decisions based on the big picture rather than a single snapshot in time. The Biblical principles of capitalism cause us to think in terms of abundance.

Abundance is part of Jesus nature. He had to feed the 5000 and guess what?  The loaves and fishes were not divided up in to 5000 small portions. Instead it was multiplied. There were baskets of food left over. I believe we must be totally convinced that God is an abundant provider—not just sometimes when he is in a good mood but as a part of his nature he provides “more than enough.” It is how he does things.

Can you imagine standing there when Jesus turned the water into wine? The scripture says in the book of John that six stone water jars used for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons, were filled to the brim. Filled to the brim? According to my calculation that would be between 120 and 160 gallons of wine. We don’t know how many guests were at the wedding, but that is a lot of wine.

Financial prosperity depends on casting aside this mentality of lack and embracing an abundance mindset instead. A mentality of lack causes us to consciously or unconsciously be more concerned with what might go wrong than with what could go right. Sometimes Christians focus on what God hasn’t done…don’t focus on this. It should be fuel for prayer. Nourish your soul on what he has done. Focus on this and expect more.

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Little Government, Big People

Once the Hebrews entered the Promised Land, God wanted them to live and govern themselves as free individuals. When they faced national problems He would raise up a judge to organize the people. Each judge was only able to rule because the people willingly accepted his or her leadership.

Unfortunately the Hebrew people wanted a king to rule over them.  God spoke through the prophet Samuel and warned them that if they got a king, the king would take their sons and daughters to serve in armies, fields, and kitchens. The King would take the best of their fields and vineyards. God did not want the Hebrews to have a King but they insisted on it. They were determined to have someone rule over them. They wanted to be servants rather than free.

Among the worst effects of an over controlling government is that it robs the people of the produce of their own labors. It kills motivation and entrepreneurship. When government reigns over people rather than serving them, it oppresses the human spirit, which was created in the image of God.  God wanted to keep the Hebrews from making this mistake, but they went ahead anyway and got a king to rule over them.

Slowing the successful will slow society. Harold Eberle says it like this:Compare successful capitalists to a heard of horses running across and open plain. They are free and fast moving. When the government requires the capitalist to incorporate and license their businesses, it is comparable to putting bits in the mouths of the horses. As the capitalists are required to document every expenditure, the horses are reined. As they are told how to do business, the horses are directed where they can and cannot run. As the capitalists are taxed heavily, large weights are placed on the backs of the horses and if the weights are too heavy they will never run again.

When business owners need to spend more than 40% of their energy serving the government rather than producing what the business was designed to produce, the tendency is to give up and look for an easier way to make a living. We need successful capitalists running ahead, bringing innovations, creating jobs for millions and propelling society forward. We must not muzzle them while they work the fiel

 

 

Source

Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo-Christian Valueby Harold Eberle, 2010, Worldcast Publishing.

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Big Government, Little People

I recently heard someone say the bigger and more controlling a government is the more little the people become in their ability to live, make choices and be fruitful in their lives. Of course the opposite is true then, the more little the government is in its scope of control, the bigger the ability for individuals to live, make choices and be fruitful.

The principles of capitalism and individual freedoms were instilled in the very fabric of Hebrew society. It was simply the way they thought and lived. This included the social values of caring for ones parents, orphans, widows and the poor. The government did not enforce these social values but they were cultural pressures placed on each individual to live accordingly.

In ancient Hebrew society everyone was required to live according to godly values. An especially high value was placed on the honoring of one’s parents. Someone who did not take care of their parents was ridiculed or shunned from the community. The Hebrew people believed God would bless them, only if the entire community lived by God’s laws. They kept each other accountable. This is not necessarily possible today.

Harold Eberle teaches that society is should be governed by individuals, families, Church and civil government. Does government have a role? Yes…absolutely! I am convinced that “no government” is worse even than bad government. That would be anarchy, which is not Biblical and leads to the total breakdown of society. Indeed I am greatly thankful for limited government that builds roads, assists in national catastrophes, defends against outsides threats and provides social programs that benefit us all. But Government must be limited so it will not limit people.

 

Source

Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo-Christian Valueby Harold Eberle, 2010, Worldcast Publishing.

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It Takes Money to Do Things for God

We cannot separate money and ministry. Most of us have heard and love the story of the Good Samaritan. We would all like to be the Good Samaritan that Jesus described. Let’s read carefully the story:

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’’’ (Luke 10:30-35 NIV).

A study of the money of this time period reveals that the two coins the Good Samaritan gave to the Inn keeper were enough to pay for keeping him two months at the Inn.(1) Think about how much it would cost us today to keep someone at a hotel for two months with food costs. It would be thousands of dollars. The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of a man who had significant financial means available to him so he could take care of the robbery victim for two months. And it gets better, the Good Samaritan then continued on his journey while this man was cared for by someone he paid to do it. Because he had sufficient resources, he met this person’s need and still was not distracted from the primary purpose of his trip.

I find the Good Samaritan model attractive as I desire to multiply my efforts in expanding the kingdom of God. If I have the resources to pay or support others in ministry like the Good Samaritan did, then it means that my efforts are multiplied. I can accomplish more than just what I do with my personal time and energy.

Or how about when God asked Noah to build the ark? Noah had sufficient resources to obey. There are no scriptures indicating Noah awakened one day and the ark was miraculously finished. There is no record of ravens flying in with pre-cut gopher logs to be fitted into place. The ark was built with manual labor over a period of years, probably by his family or hired laborers. It took significant financial resources for Noah to obey God. Could it be that God wants to provide for us in a similar way? I believe He desires that we have the resources on hand to accomplish His purposes as He reveals them to us.

A similar example is that of Joseph from Arimathea. He was a rich man, a member of the Sanhedrin, who was a disciple of Jesus. Joseph was ready and available when called upon to take Jesus’ body and give it an appropriate burial in a rich man’s tomb that had never been used before. This was significant because in Bible times, tombs were used multiple times. His availability and his financial resources played an important role in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the unfolding of the kingdom of God.

(1) NIV Study Bible Notes, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1985).

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Banking in Venezuela Requires a Backpack

Today in Venezuela the hungry locals have taken to scouring city streets for plastic garbage bags full of rubbish and emptying the contents so that they can resell the bags. Extreme poverty has spread like the plague. The garbage bag, imported with dollars, is a thing of value.

Most blame Hugo Chavez for this failure of socialism, but by the time Chávez was elected in 1999, Venezuela already had 40 years of socialism under its belt, dating back to 1958. Romulo Betancourt, an avowed socialist, was elected president that year. So Venezuela becomes a useful case study for the promises and reality of socialism. I am sourcing Mary Anastasia O’ Grady’s article which provides a great context for this study.

For 30 years a string of socialist governments employed price and exchange controls in counter productive, socialist attempts to raise living standards. Rent control in Venezuela dates to 1939. Since then, “not one apartment rental building has been built,” writes Vladimir Chelminski in his 2017 book, “Venezuelan Society Checkmated.” Mary Anastasia O’ Grady’s states: “The legendary slums that climb Caracas’s hillsides are a testament to this socialist stupidity.”

Carlos Andrés Pérez took the presidency in 1974. Perez mandated salary increases for the entire nation and implemented, for the first time, a minimum wage. All commercial buildings had to employ elevator operators, and all public restrooms had to have attendants. He forced foreigners to sell what they owned in Venezuela. He nationalized oil in 1976. The state expanded its role in iron, steel and aluminum and took control of coffee, cocoa and the previously independent central bank. Price controls applied to virtually everything, from cement, hotels and banking to parking lots, meat, milk and sugar. Socialism took its toll.

When Chávez was later inaugurated in February 1999 the Venezuelan Bolivar exchanged at 576 to the dollar. He increased the implementation of socialism and government control, worsening a long history of destroying free markets that would lead to today’s disaster. Today it takes 79,900 Bolivars to exchange for one dollar. Sadly, banking in Venezuela now requires a backpack.

Although I would say that at least some socialists are motivated by empathy and compassion for the needy, as an economic system it simply has not worked.

 

Source:

Venezuela’s Long Road to Ruin. Few countries have provided such a perfect example of socialist policies in practice.  Mary Anastasia O’Grady June 2018 Wall Street Journal

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Listen to Bono

Some 44% of millennials believe they do more to support social causes than the rest of their family, according to the 2017 Millennial Impact. Guess what…it is not just millennials who want to make a difference. Some of us boomers and busters do as well.

Do you want to end poverty, comfort the homeless and expand human dignity? You are right on target. All are created in the image of God so all should be valued in these ways. How we approach this makes a difference. Here are Andy Kessler’s well stated ideas:

  • If you’re volunteering at shelters or working for most nonprofits, that’s all very nice, but it’s one-off. It may feel good to ladle soup to the hungry, but you might be wasting valuable brain waves that could be spent ushering in a future in which no one is hungry to begin with.
  • You can hoe and sickle and grow rutabagas to feed a few hungry folks, but maybe there is a better option: Find a way to revamp food distribution to lower prices. Or reinvent how food is grown and enriched to enable healthier diets.
  • Don’t spend all your time caring for the sick. Prevent disease. Gene therapy, early detection and immunotherapy can change the trajectory of disease because they scale.
  • Don’t only build temporary shelters. Figure out how to 3-D print real homes quickly and cheaply.
  • Why tutor a few students when you can capture lessons from best-of-breed teachers and deliver them electronically to millions?

God gives us technology to bring change. When productivity increases it creates wealth that helps everyone. Listen to Bono as he told Georgetown students a few years ago, “Entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid.”

Oh…and you can listen to Bono’s music too.

Source:

Advice to New Grads: Scale or Bail. Want to change the world? Don’t bother volunteering—get a real, ‘boring’ jobBy Andy Kessler. Wall Street Journal

May 20, 2018

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