One of the basic principles of economics is that resources are inherently scarce. There are never enough resources to satisfy every need and want. Proper management is in large part the effective allocation of resources.
Napoleon took it bit further when he said that untapped resources soon become a liability. Only when a resource is made to produce does it become an asset.
There are those that feel that secular resources should not be employed by the church. They are both right and wrong.
The church should not use devious worldly business tactics to achieve godly aims. However, the reality is that somewhere along the way, the church is going to have to deal with various secular institutions and businesses in their communities. It is only wise to develop the type of relationships that will prove beneficial to the church and if it does, it will also be beneficial to the business entities involved.
Who are you dealing with?
We are driven to own as much as we possibly can, even though to get most things we often go into debt, and thus are ourselves owned. Those that follow Christ know that the ideal is to owe and own nothing, but to see one’s self as a steward of everything. In Luke 16:8, Jesus said that the “children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”
That is truly an amazing statement, but it needs to be taken in context. First of all, when he says “in their generation,” he is talking about the temporal things of the world. In a business sense, they see the opportunities and seize them while the children of light fail to see how the temporal can be used to benefit the eternal.
One of the stigmas attached to Christian ministries that are involved in the educational process, as all of them should be in one way or another, is that they are unreliable, unprofessional and lacking in credibility. It is an assumption that is all too often true.
However, the educational standard of the Christian community should be higher than anything that the secular world has to offer. The parables, such as the one given in Luke 16:1-15, are examples of how Jesus could look at everyday situations and draw an eternal truth. He saw how things connected.
If the follower of Christ has anything, it is a proven system by which to gauge the profitability of various enterprises, actions and attitudes. This means that those that follow the teachings of the Bible do not assess success or failure on money or possessions, though much of the world does.
As he told the parable of the rich man and the steward in the Luke 16, he knew that what he was saying was the opposite of what the religious leadership had to say about the subject. To them, it was the chariot you drove, the clothes that you wore, where you lived and the power you had that were the real confirmations that God was blessing you.
Jesus wasn’t saying that those things were inherently evil, but he was saying that to get them was not that difficult. You just had to serve a different god — one that would give you such trinkets as a payoff for your devotion.
Yet, Jesus was also saying that there was some benefit to be gained by having a working relationship with the dealings of the world, though such dealings should never result in a lowering of the Biblical ethic.
By being faithful, we take the resources that belong to God anyway and put them to their intended use and show what God can do when people are faithful to a much higher standard. We know that life is much more than money out and money in, money lost and money made. That is nothing more than a type of language that much of the world uses. More than just a language, those that follow Christ have the words of life, which, when applied correctly, speaks to every heart.
Dr. M. Hildon Guy is the President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River, Alaska. (www.universityofcss.org)