As we have been examining the Biblical Worldview for these months we have looked at the initial things that God was teaching the Hebrews in their early days as his adopted children. Many of these lessons formed the early Jewish economic system and helped the Hebrews to identify a sense of “capital” which was separate from the individual. In contrast, the pagans of the day tended to center their activities on meeting the needs of themselves and their families…working for themselves.
In contrast God planted the Jews in a Promised Land and each family was given a portion of land. It was something of value they owned and stewarded. They were to take care of it and improve it. They were directed by God to take care of their accumulated wealth or we could call it “capital”. It was their responsibility. This became a value embraced by the entire Jewish nation. They expected each other to take care of their land and to develop it as capital.
Harold Eberle says it like this, “Consider the often quoted advice, ‘Instead of giving a person a fish, teach them how to fish’. The second – teaching him how to fish – will provide for the persons present and future needs. However, neither being given a fish nor teaching them how to fish, were Gods way of dealing with the Jews. He had a third option. God wanted to teach the Jews how to own and manage the fish pond. Then they could charge the fishermen for everything they caught. This was a huge transition in thought. Even today people with lower economic conditions tend to orient their lives toward obtaining food, paying bills and purchasing some desired objects for themselves. In contrast wealthy people tend to orient their lives toward maintaining and increasing their capital. They see capital as something separate from themselves.”
So for the Christian today…to have a sense of being a caretaker of capital, be it land or money, will in a practical way change their thinking and cause them to experience more of God’s promised prosperity. The accumulated capital will care for their present needs and the needs of others; but also exist beyond them and be passed on to others to manage.
This Biblical attitude towards capital allows the individual to be less emotionally attached to it and make less emotional financial decisions. And it allows the individual to see capital as something that produces income to be managed as a steward. More to come….