The human economy is an integral part of the Christian faith. This means that Christ’s followers are also called to care for their neighbors (for example, by starting a small business) and then pray for God to bless it. This article will explore how Christian principles can be applied to traditional economic concepts, including wealth creation, investing, and the free market system.
The first thing some people imagine when they hear the term “Christianity and economics” is a world where Christians do not need to worry about their financial future, as some heavenly divine plan will look after them. However, this view does not reflect reality. The Bible speaks of money as something that is to be used for the good of others; we are not to accumulate it but to give it away, and we should invest what we have for maximum growth (1 Timothy 6:17-19). Even early on in the Bible (Genesis 2:15) we see God blessing hard work and creation, so clearly the Bible does not oppose wealth creation. Furthermore, the Bible says that one of the things a follower of Jesus should do is work hard and be a good manager so as to provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8). This verse refers to family members, but it can also be extended to include those within our church community. In fact, the Bible encourages believers to give generously from their wealth if they have been blessed by God, but people must be careful not to be too generous with other people’s money (Luke 16:10-13).
One area in which Christians might think that capitalism is at odds with the Bible is in the area of interest rates. Some churches will not even accept savings accounts with interest. However, this is because of a misunderstanding of the issue. The laws in the Old Testament forbade charging interest on loans to other Jews, as it was a form of exploitation (Exodus 22:25-27). The rules changed when the Israelites entered the land God gave them and were no longer dependent on God for their provision. In those cases it then became permissible to charge interest on loans for profit or gain (Deuteronomy 23:19-20). In fact, Jesus referred to this passage from Deuteronomy when he made clear that charging interest was permissible if done without greed (Luke 6:34-35).
In addition to working hard and being a good manager, Christians need to plan well for their retirement.
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