Inherit the Earth (14)

Capitalisation is the product of work and thrift, and the accumulation of wealth and the wise use of accumulated wealth. This accumulated wealth is invested in effect in progress, because it is made available for the development of natural resources and the marketing of goods and produce. The thrift which leads to the savings or accumulation of wealth, to capitalisation, is a product of character.

Capitalisation is a product in every era of the Puritan disposition, of the willingness to forego present pleasures to accumulate some wealth for future purposes. Without character, there is no capitalisation but rather decapitalisation, the steady depletion of wealth. As a result, capitalism is supremely a product of Christianity, and, in particular, of Puritanism, which, more than any other faith, has furthered capitalisation.[1]

The Bible has a lot to say about our attitudes to work, to thrift, to diligence and to productivity. We are encouraged to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (ICor.15:58). If the work of the Lord for me today is to dig a ditch, paint a house or change a baby’s nappy, then these are just as important tasks as preaching and teaching, because the Bible never teaches or infers a form of sacred/secular dualism. Dualism is entirely a product of pagan Greek philosophy, not found in the Bible.

Pastors should teach the Biblical principles of financial success: self-discipline, thrift, hard work, customer service, thrift, future-orientation, saving for retirement, thrift, profitability, low or zero debt, thrift, long hours, family sacrifice, reduced lifestyle, and thrift.[2]

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were productive people. They were workers, who got things done. We do not know specifically what Abraham did, but he was certainly a trader in livestock, goods and possibly precious metals, while Isaac lived similarly and was productive in farming and digging wells in one phase (Gen.26) of his life. Jacob successfully managed his father-in- law Laban’s flocks, and later his own, while all three patriarchs were able to successfully manage large groups of men, which could number hundreds (Gen.14:14; 26:12-14; 32:1-23) of men, or more.

Gideon, Elisha, James, John and Matthew had this in common: when God called them, they were working. The gospels make it clear that Jesus was a worker. This is particularly stressed in Mark’s gospel, which frequently uses the word “immediately” to describe His activities, and the rapid way in which He went about his work and ministry. Clearly, His time was limited, and He had much to do. He also said that “we must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (Jn.9:4), and that “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (Jn. 5:17).[3]

It was the productive servants in Jesus’ Parable of the Talents (Mat.25) who were commended by their master. Why? Because they took what had been entrusted to them by their master, traded with it, and doubled the amount. For this, their master called them each a “good and faithful slave” (vs. 21 & 23). But the other servant who hid his talent in the ground, and refused to trade with it with a view to pursuing a profit, Jesus called a “wicked, lazy slave” (v.26).

Capitalisation has a number of facets, one of them being a future orientation. A godly person has to be thinking about the future; what he should be accomplishing, and what he should be preparing for. It means developing an awareness of local, national or international trends and problems, as these may affect us in time to come. “A prudent man sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it” (Prov.22:3).

It means we ask ourselves, “What can I be doing with my assets today, to ensure I can maximise my asset base, ten years from now?” One aspect of this is leaving something for those that follow us, which will probably involve financial assets, but much, much more: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Prov.13:22).

In this regard, Job’s life serves as an important Biblical example:

His blessings consisted of the restoration of his wealth beyond what he had possessed before (42:12), as well as the birth of ten children (42:13). As a final gift, he was granted a long life (42:16-17). In short, he was given the capital he needed to begin once again to exercise dominion over the earth as a godly family man: tools, children and time.[4]

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Chalcedon Report,” April 1967.

[2] North, G., “Inherit the Earth,” 1987, p.152.

[3] Andrew McColl, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009, ch.6.

[4] North, G., “The Dominion Mandate,” 1987, p.164.

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