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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Radical Banking: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is


 

(This reading is based on Proverbs 19 and is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.)
Here's a radical banking concept that literally challenges us to put our monies where our mouths are. But let us firstly get a brief overview of what a bank is.
Traditionally a bank was supposed to be a place where you ccould safely store your values/monies - a service for which you are charged. Over time however, the bank became a place where you could also borrow funds - a service for which you were charged. But because the bank didn't really own the monies it lent, it was only moral that the proceeds from monies lent were shared between the bankers and the depositors. With this new development, coupled with the proliferation of competing banks, the depositor was seen more as a creditor or lender to the bank that would put the lender's money to work. This would eventually mean that a depositor has to now research the bank he/she will do business with, based on criteria such as interest on funds, confidence in the integrity of a particular bank, charges for services offered (an area of growing concern for depositors who are simply watching their savings being literally eaten up by these crafty/shady bankers). The concern for making maximum returns on funds has given rise to a very sophisticated financial market industry, complete with the trading in stocks and bonds and a host of financial instruments in which to invest. Today we have commercial banks, credit unions, building societies, money market brokerages, etc. In the mix have been ponzi schemes associated with the likes of Madoff (made off) and Stanford, and in Jamaica with Cash Plus crash and Olint overturn, people are scared and confused about where to put their monies. Could a solution lie in, not something new, but in the age-old concept found in Proverbs 19: 17, "He who has pity on the poor LENDS to the Lord, AND HE WILL PAY BACK what he has given?" Isn't this what we're really looking for when we enter a financial institution?
Solomon, under inspiration, seems to be saying, 'instead of going to a risky financial institution, go instead to an infirmary, a children's home, a school where students are struggling with school fees, your widowed neighbour, that fatherless child you know. Contribute to the Community Services fund in your local church, support ADRA, Maranatha, other local ministries. In doing this you may very likely feel ridiculous and like you are now a fanatic, because it goes against all conventions. And even though these conventions have been largely developed by selfish/greedy persons, and are clearly fraught with major risks, they are hard to let go of. But let's face it, some people's entire pensions have been wiped out, others face the prospect of having no pension to look forward to, because governments and pension funds are going/have gone broke. And when faced with this disaster, who can we turn to? Only God. So why not work with Him in the first place. If we "believe that God is, and is a rewarder of them that deligently seek Him," (Heb. 11: 6), if we believe in Heaven, if we believe that God provides for the sparrow, then why are we afraid to TRUST Him? Nature teaches us that when we plant a single grain, we get a whole lot of grains in return.
Lord, I believe in You, please help me to put my money where my mouth is, in Jesus' name, amen.

To read and/or listen to Proverbs 19 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

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