Bake Bread Everyday?

Although many Western nations have turned against Christianity, the foundation of their prosperity is built on the basic principles of Christianity, especially through the Reformation. Before the Reformation, even the medieval church had become a giant collective and salvation was attained by becoming a member of the church. This changed with the reformation.  

During the late sixteenth century the Dutch-speaking citizens of the Netherlands were the most commerce oriented people of Europe. Why? They embraced Calvinism with its strong emphasis on doing business and working hard. The Netherlands was also a haven for Jews who excelled in business. And the Dutch were sea-going merchants, eventually starting investment companies to finance their worldwide shipping industry. The rest of Europe watched and followed. Along with this robust capitalism came abundance.

 

Modern historians refer to this period as the age of commercialization. People began to produce products for others rather than just for their own family to consume or use. These products were sold and individuals made a profit and accumulated wealth. People were able to specialize in the production on one product, and hence produce increased quantities. So a person could by a loaf of bread every day from a baker, rather than taking hours to bake it themselves each day.

 

Before this time, about 80 percent of the entire population was required to work in agriculture to produce enough of food to feed all the people. Even with this great workforce, famines regularly followed unfavorable weather conditions. Better tools and new farming practices gradually transformed agricultural so that by 1900 less than 10 percent of the population was needed to produce all the necessary food. This released a workforce to serve in other areas. Abundance of food led to preserving and storing, thus eliminating the fear of future famines. This brought a new sense of security so people were more willing to invest their accumulated wealth (capital) in new products and businesses.

 

Capitalism catapulted the Western world ahead of other civilizations. The same principles that allowed the Jews to prosper allowed Europe to rise to the economic top of the world.

 

Sources: 

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

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Who Owns The Mangos Anyway?

The true story is told about a family living in Venezuela, a socialist country. They did not have enough food to eat but there was a mango tree in their front yard. When the Mangos ripened it was their ethical dilemma of whether to pick them and feed them to their kids or not, because everything, including land and crops, belonged to the state. Not only was it a crime to eat the mangos, but their neighbors were encouraged to report them for such a crime. They did pick and eat the mangos, but hid the skins to hopefully avoid being arrested for such criminal activity.

Who is better at distributing resources? Government or individuals who earn income and are responsible for it? The history of socialist governments’ distribution is not very good. Forbes magazine reports that at his death, Fidel Castro had a net worth of $900 million dollars while the people were living on an average of $20/month.

Since Castro’s death though, salaries have gone up, especially for professionals. At the high end, doctors with two specialties saw their salary go from the equivalent of $26 a month to $67, while an entry-level nurse will make $25, up from $13. Salaries at government jobs in Cuba average about $20 a month, augmented by a range of free services and subsidies.And what about the family stealing mangos to feed their kids in Venezuela?  Forbes magazinereported the socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez worth $500 million at his death.

How and why do the Biblical principals of capitalism work to rescue people from their socialist government? When all the people in the republic, especially the able-bodied poor, see that their material conditions are actually improving from year to year, they are led to compare where they are today with where they would like to be tomorrow. They stop comparing themselves with their neighbors, because their personal goals are not the same as those of their neighbors. They seek their own goals, at their own pace, to their own satisfaction.

Once a capitalist system has generated a sufficiently large and successful middle class, the pressures for turning toward democracy become very strong. This is because successful entrepreneurs speedily recognize that they are smarter and more able than the generals and the commissars. They begin demanding self-government. Freedom breeds freedom. Democracy depends on a growing economy for its upward tide—for social mobility, opportunity, and the pursuit of personal accomplishment.

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The Ultimate Resource

When God said to Adam and Eve…”Be fruitful and multiply”… this not only meant having children, but to be productive in life. God created humans to have worth, value and contribute to the world around them. This is core to the Biblical worldview.

Fifty years ago Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich published “The Population Bomb.” In it he warned of a coming global crisis—unless the world could be persuaded to stop producing so many people. The book sketched out possible scenarios of hundreds of millions dying from starvation, England disappearing by the year 2000, India doomed, the average American’s lifespan falling to 42 by 1980, and so on.

The book sold three million copies and the social ethos of “population control” was born. Some even would declare overpopulation a graver threat than nuclear war. Mr. Ehrlich’s assertion about the limited “carrying capacity” of the Earth was considered a scientific fact.

However…this logic seemed to be flawed: Ehrlich stated that when a calf is born a country’s wealth rises, but when a baby is born it goes down. Really? A calf is worth more than a human being? What he missed recognizing is that human beings are more than just a higher form of animals with mouths to feed. They also come with God given minds that separate them from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Julian Lincoln Simon called the human mind “The Ultimate Resource.” And that’s why it never runs out. Human beings constantly find new and creative ways to harness the earth, increase the bounty for everyone and expand the number of seats at the table of plenty. Human ingenuity adapts to circumstances and turns what were once luxuries into everyday amenities. Commodities would become cheaper as humans found more cost-effective ways of extracting them or cheaper and cleaner alternatives (solar power). By almost any measure—life expectancy, infant mortality, poverty rate —things are getting better all the time.

A false understanding of scarcity can lead to fear and self-preservation. The idea of a finite supply of natural resource is only one part of the equation. As history has shown, give people free markets and property rights, and you will be astonished by how much they will improve their lot—and ours.

So today…realize God loves you and has created you with a productive purpose, a future and hope.

 

Source:The Population Bomb Was a Dud – Paul Ehrlich got it wrong because he never understood human potential.ByWilliam McGurnApril 30, 2018. Wall Street Journal

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Finland’s Folly

In January 2017 Finland became the first country in Europe to pay free basic income in a pilot program, which evoked enthusiasm around the world. It was a much-heralded socialistic experiment.

However, the Finnish government reportedly announced Tuesday that it will end the country’s universal basic income program by year’s end — and appears to be taking on new measures to cut benefits to those who do not actively seek employment.Finland was considered the first European country to pay a monthly check of $685 to its unemployed between ages 25 and 58. It was a pilot program — serving 2,000 randomly selected jobless people.

The initial move was met with skepticism from citizens who questioned whether an unemployed young person would be motivated to find a job if they were making a steady income, albeit small. “There is a fear that with basic income they would just stay at home and play computer games,” Heikki Hiilamo, a professor at the University of Helsinki, told the paper. This fear appears to be justified by the government’s cancelation of this program.

A little Bible understanding could have saved Finland some time and money. In 2 Thess. 3:10, the bible states, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’” This was written to early Christians who were sitting around and waiting for the Lord to return. Of course the scriptures say Christians need to take care of widows, orphans and the poor, and throughout history Christians have led the way in this. However, for those with strength and opportunity, they were created to be productive.

When DOVE’s first church planting team moved to Scotland many years ago it was confronted by multitudes of unemployed, glue sniffing, secondary school dropouts. The “dole” at that time gave young people the option to drop out of school at age 16 and start getting a check in the mail. As you may imagine, given that choice, many of the youth opted to quit school and start getting a check. A number of these young people gave their hearts to the Lord, gained a value for work and went on to live productive lives. The gospel brings with it what is called by mission’s experts “redemption and lift”.

Source:

Finland to end its universal basic income program by year’s end by Edmund DeMarche  Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.

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Christianity Instilled Compassion in Western Civilization.

Harold Eberle in his book Compassionate Capitalism: A Judeo-Christian Value, highlights how the spread of Christianity instilled compassion in Western Civilization…

The spread of Judeo- Christian values implanted compassion in Western civilization. You see…the ancient pagan religions offered no motives for charity. Stoic philosophers taught that it was disrespectful to even associate with the weak or poor. The Romans were callous and without compassion for the needy.

In contrast, the early Christians held to the Jewish value that all people are created in the image of God. Ancient Hebrew society had many ways of caring for the needy, including the giving of alms and farmers gleaning their crops only once so that the poor could freely gather that which was left behind.

From the start, Christians cared for the widows, orphans and the poor. Not only did they have this from their Hebrew roots, but also from the standard raised by Jesus whose very life was directed toward reaching out and loving others, especially the downtrodden. We can read in the book of Acts how the early disciples took care of the needy. Deacons were assigned for feeding widows. Peter and Paul were committed to caring for the poor. Church father Tertullian wrote how early Christians contributed to a common fund to help the poor. Justin Marty wrote how collections were taken during church services to help orphans. There are many such writings from this period.

Throughout the last 2,000 years of Western history, the church has been at the forefront of building hospitals and running orphanages. During the 13thcentury a group known as the Order of the Holy Ghost operated more than 800 orphanages, and many monasteries cared for orphans during the Middle Ages.

Today it is the church, including the DOVE churches, which have practically led the way in adopting and caring for the multitude of AIDS orphans in Africa. In some cases the DOVE pastors have adopted as many or more orphans than they have natural children. Most Christian denominations collect funds to give clothing, food and medical relief to the poor. The Judeo-Christian ethic was one of benevolent capitalism.

People worked hard, lived frugally, saved and gave.

 

Sources:

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

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Christianity Transforms Pagan Culture

Harold Eberle in his book Compassionate Capitalism: A Judeo-Christian Value, highlights how the spread of Christianity continued to transform the pagan culture of ancient Europe…

Great Christian thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas and other catholic theologians strongly defended rights for personal property and personal gain. It was during this period that money became a more common currency of exchange allowing more people to accumulate wealth. The Great Plague killed one third of the population of Europe, decimating the labor force and allowing surfs to take jobs, which paid wages. Soon the masses were able to enter a labor force which ran more according to capitalistic principles.

Capitalism was one of the major triumphs of the Judeo-Christian ethic over Greek and Roman thought. It was the system that eventually freed the Western world from the oppression of the powerful over the mass of humanity by giving each person the opportunity to advance. Capitalism allowed a middle class to arise and displace the ruling aristocracy. It also catapulted the Western world ahead of other civilizations that did not embrace the Judeo-Christian worldview.

During the 11thand through the 14thcenturies business and commerce accelerated and numerous guilds were formed to organize the various trades in to associations. The guilds established guidelines for good business. Later…Livery Companies emerged which were solidly tied to the church and dedicated to promote righteous ethics in business. At a time when dishonest scales were commonplace, the Livery Companies verified weights and measures, along with promoting high standards of excellence. This eventually led to a change in the business climate in Europe.

Another triumph of the Judeo- Christian values was the instilling of compassion in Western civilization. You see…the ancient pagan religions offered no motives for charity. Stoic philosophers taught that it was disrespectful to even associate with the weak or poor. More on this next week…

 

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

 

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The Success Sequence…as Old as the Bible.

Ready for a revolutionary new approach to teach children from any nation how to live a prosperous life…

Brookings scholars Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill call it the “success sequence”: that is…getting at least a high-school diploma, working, and then marrying before having children in that specific order. Following the success sequence is associated with a much lower chance of being poor and much better odds of realizing a prosperous life.

Tracking a cohort of young adults from their teenage years to early adulthood, sociologists W. Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang recently tested how well the three success sequence “steps” work among the millennial generation. They found that 53% of millennials who had failed to complete all three steps were poor.

Teenage pregnancy out of wedlock is the number one predictor of poverty in most cultures. The same research indicated the probability of ending up poor was reduced by 60% for millennials who married before having children and by about 90% for millennials who followed all steps of the sequence compared with those who missed all three.

In regards to breaking out of the cycle of poverty, the success sequence significantly benefits young adults from low-income backgrounds. Among young adults who grew up in low-income families, those who followed all three steps had a poverty rate of only 6%. Eighty percent of those with lower-income backgrounds made it into middle or upper income brackets when they followed all three steps.

The message is simple. Some ways of entering adulthood are more prudent than others. And the message is as old as the oldest book on record, the Bible. Education? – Prov. 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. Work? – Prov. 14:23 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. Marriage? – Eccl. 4:9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. Children after marriage? – Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all…

So for all the messaging of the importance of “love” and sexuality in culture today, let us be equally bold to speak about the practical, Biblical model that not only saves the soul from pain, but also can lead to economic prosperity as well.

Source:

Wang, W. March 2018. ‘The Sequence’ Is the Secret to SuccessGo to school, work, marry, have children. Why do we fail to convey this message to poor young people? WSJ. Ms. Wang is director of research at the Institute for Family Studies.

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