Sunday morning the church had a senior pastor from another bapticostal church come on in and talk about money. We were challenged on the idea of providing for those who come after us, and putting our priorities… not on our bank balances.
In all, a balanced sermon. Met one of my mates who has joined this from our old church and he told me they are going to have seminars on financial empowerment throughout the church — which is very young, and sensible advice about debt, saving, and using cash will help young people starting out — many have been told that you should just borrow for everything.
Then I consider the Jerusalem church, where people gave everything away.
37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
In the old covenant, there was a law not, to my knowledge, obeyed. It was the law of the Jubilee. Every seventh year the people were to let the ground be fallow and recover, and after the 49th year there was to be a correction. The land — which was wealth — was to be returned to those who had been given it from the time of conquest. All debts expired.
All slave contracts were torn up.
Any farmland sold was to be sold as harvests until the Jubilee, when the land would return to its ancestral owners.
In Jerusalem there was a distribution among the new believers. I should add that this was not sustained: the Jerusalem church was rapidly subsidized by the Gentile Believers — Paul’s final visit to Jerusalem was to bring money to support them.
But there was a redistribution. If there is not jubilee, or no charity, then there will be a natural churn as businesses dissolve, fortunes are lost, and the stock market collapses, yet again, under undue pressure of speculation.
But this is not the jubilee: this is a pale shadow of that. This is the use of money to indenture us: not merely so we pay down our mortgages, but so the corporates regulate our souls and force us to the narrative of this age.
Which would damn us.
It is far better to give all away and gain salvation. The early Jerusalem church showed that. In the meantime, do not let the bank be your master, nor be dependant on your employer.
Invest instead in skills, knowledge, and a good vegetable garden. Be as independent as possible.
For the narrative of this time will fall, and with it many. Do not be one of them.
Why is it important to teach on money now? New Zealand is going through a rough patch. The housing market is overvalued: Auckland is over valued to the point that basic apartments are six hundred thousand when the average household income is sixty thousand or thereabouts, and therefore provincial university towns such as Palmerston North and Dunedin are having large rises in value as people who can move seek affordable houses. I was talking to one of the contractors working on our place, and he can’t get a house for what the bank will loan him, Too many people are taking on too much debt.
This cannot last, and the first signs of the bubble deflating are here. Some of the better subcontracting firms, doing large projects, in Auckland, are in liquidation. Business confidence is down, significantly down, to levels akin to the last global crisis.
If you are over mortgaged, it is time to sell and downsize. Do not wait until spring. Get out early or you may find yourself owing more than the house is worth: I saw this with the Canadians in the last Global Crash. Do not pretend it cannot happen in NZ.