Saturday, 31 July 2010

You can be rich but don't be a fool

The media have blamed everyone from greedy bankers to naive home-owners, and in UK, Gordon Brown for the current economic melt down. In fact, Gordon Brown lost the last election partly due to the recession. Many believed he was in charge of the economy for over a decade and should have seen this coming and sorted out long before it got out of hand.

For the purposes of this article I will stick my finger out to the greedy bankers for the cause of the recession. They are no different from the man in the passage, Luke 12:13-21, popularly known as the parable of the rich fool. The bankers like the rich fool had stashed away enough money to put their feet up ,enjoy expensive holidays and take life easy whilst majority are struggling for ordinary things in life.

The story in the passage was prompted by a dispute about an inheritance- an individual asked Jesus to mediate between himself and his brother in a matter of family inheritance. Jesus refused to get involved in a family dispute, and rather gets to the heart of the matter-Greed.

The thrust of the passage is in v.15, and summarised in 21. In Luke 12:15 Jesus said, “Watch out and guard yourselves from all kinds of greed; because a person’s true life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he may be. If you read the rich man’s story in the passage, from the beginning it appears to be a good business model- something we all aspire to. I mean come on who wouldn’t like to be a millionaire; enjoying yourself, taking luxurious holiday and taking life easy?

The desire to create wealth is what gets us up early in the morning. We will want to be able to stash enough cash not only for ourselves, but our children too. Had it not be the pursuit of wealth I would not have left my lovely coast town for a city that the last time I saw sea was about four years ago, and I had to pay money to join a group of church members on a trip to sea side.

Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with being wealthy. After all, wealth and riches, especially in the Old Testament, is a sign of God's blessing, and we should not be embarrassed about the wealth that God has given to us. Jesus did not have any problem with the man’s wealth. The story got twisted when it was later realised that the man had made a false sense of security and had invested in ONLY things of this world, and NOTHING in the life to come. It’s sad isn’t it? When his earthly investment is wiped out the man will be left with nothing.Prior to September 2008, many people were hailing investment bankers for their ability to create wealth for individuals, businesses and government. They received huge bonuses for being genius. The world economy was booming, and we had great prospect ahead. Little did we know that we had bought into their greedy life style. When the recession brought its ugly head in 2008, and many businesses collapsed, and company shares registered its lowest prices, many learnt that we have been doomed.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wealth creation. It’s about how we create it and manage it that matters. Let us not only invest in this world. Let’s invest also in the world to come. Don’t be like the rich fool in this passage. Let us also be rich in God’s sight.

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