The Ascent of Money - Part 1

posted Feb 6, 2013, 8:39 AM by Unknown user
Here is the first video in case you missed class

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13)

We are watching a series of videos on the history of money and finance. The purpose of watching these videos is for us to gain a plain language vocabulary of financial concepts and ideas, and to learn lessons from history about the biblical truth that we compromise ourselves (and others!) in a variety of ways when we place anything above our devotion to Jesus in our day-to-day living.

We will see this work itself out in many ways - from the way we treat others (whether we 'like' them or not), to the way that we deal with our actual finances. We will see how our particular western view of money and economics has managed to shape the way we think about nearly everything.

We have already discussed the difference between 'worth' and 'value'. These are two financial concepts which we tend to apply to people. We may say that someone is 'a good investment', or that we are 'investing our time' into others. We may even say that someone is 'worthless'. However, according to the bible, we are all made in the image of God, and thus are invaluable. It is not possible for a person to be worthless, but it is possible for a person to act as though they don't have unlimited worth before God.

How has the West's adoption of financial (and business) language shaped the way we think about people? If we are investing our time, are we expecting a 'return' on that investment? If so, what happens when we don't get what we are expecting? What if what we are expecting is different from what God wants? Do we know what God wants? Does God invest in us? Do we invest in God? These questions aren't questions that we will aim to answer in the course. Rather, these questions serve as a simple 'wake-up' to get us thinking in a new, more biblical, and more Christ-centered way about ourselves, money, finances and (ultimately) people.

So this course in financial literacy is really about something else, even though we will talk a lot about finances, investing et all. Like the stories we find throughout the bible, the facts and figures we will learn throughout this course is secondary to the truth we will be poking at and kicking around. That truth is that our relationship with Jesus should deeply inform the way we presently live, whether we are figuring out how to save, invest, do business or eat a meal with people. 

To be Jesus-centered means to Love as he Loved us first, and to walk in this command (John 13:34-35, Jude 1:22, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 5:1-2). If the Love of God is true in us, it is also natural. It cannot be forced or even learned. This Love is a Love that grows as we firmly establish ourselves in the Love of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. This will change everything about how we relate to people and money, because left to our own devices, intelligence and 'wisdom', we will always choose sin. It is only by God's grace that we can choose otherwise, because God gives us true freedom (Galatians 5:1).