Bread and Jeans

Are you thankful you do not have to bake bread every morning? I am. We take it for granted when we get up in the morning we can just grab piece of bread from the bread drawer and make some toast. Baking bread is something that is done for us and we are happy to pay for it. If the baker did not make a profit he would not bake bread, so we are happy to pay him more than his cost so he provides this service for us. What about when you need a new pair of jeans? Let’s start by planting some cotton plants…I think you get the picture! I am glad someone makes my jeans and happy to pay for them at a price that allows for a profit, because if their was no profit their would be no jeans!

The Hebrews had their worldview revolutionized by learning to plan for the future. Now it made sense that they could and should accumulate things for their families, and also to help the poor among them. They could make a profit by providing benefit for people. Their ability to solve problems, provide products or serve in some capacity helped both the buyer and the seller. From a Biblical perspective, profit is not obscene or profane, but a good thing and positively moral. In the Bible the occupation of business is both noble and worthy as noted previously in referring to the Proverbs 31 woman of virtue.

Scripture says we should love our neighbors as ourselves. We care about others so we seek to make a product or provide a service that will enhance other people’s lives. Since we care about our neighbors we do not want to make an inferior product that we ourselves would not be delighted to use. Since we care about others we do not want to abuse them as employees. We don’t want to steal from others because we want to be a blessing to them. A businessperson who is dishonest will eventually go out of business.

In his book Thou Shalt Prosper…The Ten Commandments of Making Money, Rabi Daniel Lapin states, “Jews became bankers to help others. Helping others succeed is a dignity enhancing task. Jews selected banking. It was because of their utter trustworthiness that they became successful bankers. Trust made commerce possible.”

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