Christian Perspective of Wealth Creation
A 13 part(2-5 min each) series of short interview clips based around wealth creation from a Christian perspective by the Lusanne Movement and BAM (Business as Mission) Global.
I'll also attach their WealthCreationUserGuide, FYI.
Here's the blurb about the clips: This series is on Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation, a critically important aspect for mission. The goals of this episode are to explain wealth creation, to highlight the importance of wealth creation for global Christianity and the church, and to inspire young leaders, established leaders, churches, organizations, and individuals so they understand the importance of wealth creation in their context.
I think it's important that Christians don't see business as one world and religion or ministry as another, but that they're both aspects of the same world, God's world.
1) How can I apply these principles in my personal life. We presently employ 9 people but I feel there is so much more we can do.
2) I am also curious, how Jon, Robin and Jacki might look at the advice in this video and how they are able to apply the principles in a sustainable way. Along with giving to the poor and needy, are there ways for job creation and sustainability with the people they minister to.
3) Another question I have is, what guidelines or safeguards could be put in place to keep people who create and get wealth, from going down the road of selfishness and bigger houses, nicer cars, more expensive technology and missing the purpose and goal for the reason God blessed them with wealth.
4) Should a portion of our giving go to "job creation" or "wealth creation" which is a sustainable way to help fight poverty.
And the list goes on....
The amounts of money and fancy things does add degrees of temptation--that's huge--but there's no way around it. How can you regulate or safeguard for that? We've been there and done that with little to no real success. It seems it always came down to those who have ears will hear, the others won't regardless of how loud the preacher pounds. If someone wants the books it's an easy sell.
In addition to personal conviction I think, from my own life and that of others I know, that community and being in close touch with those who are like-minded may be the best way ... the threefold cord concept. Maybe that young American guy at the end of the second video hit the nail on the head with his summary.
I used to have good talks with the head of a large international Fruit Company, the biggest employer in southeast Turkey. He donated his boxes of apples and bananas to us and for our work – limitless amounts. He felt good about this, the immediate satisfaction of seeing goods transferred from A to B, and the photos of the smiling orphans or street kids who received his gift. I think though that he found greater comfort in supplying jobs for thousands of people. Some of these employees were victims of war, from a fairly unpublicized conflict in eastern Turkey lasting for years. By providing them a livelihood, there was less chance they would get involved in a war.
I don’t think it is wrong to move wealth from A to B in the form of a one-time donation to someone, or even a continued donation. I can say with certainty there are widows and children’s whose lives were changed by this simple transfer of wealth from A to B. Between 2016 and 2018, we paid the full one year’s rent for forty widows, to move them out of abject poverty (i.e. six people living in a cleared out pigeon house on a roof top, a widow and her children in a mildewed house in the midst of winter with no electricity and on and on...). I would say that for nearly half those widows, the one-time gift made the difference and lifted them out of their poverty and somehow they made it on their own, either by being able to think now that they have a place where they have a room and can collect their thoughts, think about how to go forward in their lives. In their previous conditions, it was almost impossible to even have a place to reflect on how to improve their situation. An act of kindness changed the entire trajectory of their lives and of their children.
Some widows needed partial help the 2nd year, and then we had to let them make it on their own. Some were doing great, and then recently knocked back to zero again with the outbreak of the pandemic, and we had to rescue at least five families again, people who sold every piece of furniture they had just so they could feed their kids.
There were very few who I would consider to be cases of “toxic charity” when giving ends up hurting the recipient of the gift as they become overly dependent on the giver, instead of looking for ways to generate income, which many widows do here with their children, whether rolling cigarettes, doing little jobs at home for a factory, or the kids working in off hours at a garage or a barber shop, doing the most menial jobs for less than two hours a day. They work at slave wages. It is sad, but they are alive and the kids can go to school.
We have our success stories of widows who we purchased sewing machines for who gained independence and financial stability. It is something I would love to do more of. Yet, in our situation here, we just keep getting more and more refugees with cancer and other ailments that need immediate aid before you can talk to them about how to earn money in a new and foreign country, that is sometimes hostile to refugees. When you had 900,000 new displaced persons in a three month period in northwest Syria and all the hospitals and clinics destroyed, it is hard to start thinking of long term solutions for these people. Our recent long term solution was getting tents on cement platforms so they don’t get flooded in the rains, and building cinder block houses for widows with daughters so they can have the security of a door that locks versus a tent that anyone can break into.
The question that Mike poses in number 3 “what guidelines or safeguards could be put in place to keep people who create and get wealth, from going down the road of selfishness.” Tim Keller has a great podcast on that … not sure if I could find it, but he brings out that Jesus warned us more about covetousness, the deceitfulness of riches, etc. Jesus spoke more about the dangers of covetousness than adultery. It is very obvious when we are committing adultery (You wake up in the morning and say, “Oh, you are not my wife, how did you get here,” Keller jokes.) But covetousness is so sly!
So yes, to safeguards and community, though it is so very hard to do from a distance!
One other question was “Should a portion of our giving go to "job creation" or "wealth creation" which is a sustainable way to help fight poverty.” I would for sure say, yes, though at the same time not neglecting the widow and orphan who need some help to start over. We have 19 girls on our scholarship program. They receive $25 a month, which is so little for most people in Europe or America. But for us here and those in Idlib, it makes a world a difference, and can help a girl get an education, become a doctor, instead of getting married at the age of 15 or 16 with the hopes her husband can help support her widowed mother and struggling siblings.
An interesting point, the EU gives regular grants to NGO’s and charities, in Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. In the last few years though, companies who have a good corporate social responsibility programs were eligible to apply to the EU for grants. The reasoning was that businessmen are often more effective than NGO’s in handling money, running a program and ensuring the program’s sustainability.
Also, there seems to be sometimes a tendency not to trust women with money from some circles. Nobel Prize winner Yunus Mohammed, a pioneer of microfinancing, found just the opposite. The poor women were so faithful to pay back the loans they received. Dr. Abuelaish, the author of “I Shall not Hate” found the same held true in Gaza. Women were often better than men in handling finances. Men will too often spend the money on cigarettes or something else, whereas women would hide the money, not spend it right away and get the things the children needed the most.