Ministers In The Marketplace

This month I have an interesting topic that might spark a little of a debate.  I was involved in a conversation with a friend of mine that made the following assertion.  They said, and I am paraphrasing, “Rich people (specifically Christians), who have achieved a level of financial success, should give away their competency (knowledge, skill, insight they contribute to their success) for free.  They already made their money and by selling their products, they are keeping the poor people poor, while they get richer.”  I knew immediately that didn’t sound right, but at the time, it was a group conversation and there wasn’t a lot of room for a discussion.  And to be honest at the time, I didn’t have the clarity I have now, but I still challenged the thought.  Now, I have more understanding from a scriptural basis and I want to share with you.

Should Christians give away their knowledge, skills, or wisdom for free to others that want it?  If you were to poll a group of believers, you would have no problem finding people on both sides of the debate.  But let’s remove emotion, use scripture as our guide, and draw our conclusions from the Word of God.  In Genesis 41, Joseph the great-grandson of Abraham has an encounter with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, when asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.  Joseph tells Pharaoh the dream is divine and God is showing him there will be 7 years of abundance and plenteousness followed by 7 years of grievous famine.  Then Joseph suggests Pharaoh impose a 20% holding tax (a.k.a. the “fifth part”) on the corn harvest of his people.  Basically, 1 of every 5 ears of corn would belong to Pharaoh.  That tax would be stored and held so when the 7 years of famine comes, there will be food for the people and they will not starve to death.  So Pharaoh appoints Joseph to oversee the matter and Joseph gets to work.  They stored up massive amounts of corn (the bible says, “as the sand of the sea” and it couldn’t be numbered).  And then the drought came just as God had said.  And it was bad. When the people of Egypt were famished and cried to Pharaoh because they were starving, he sent them to Joseph. And Joseph opened up the storehouses and SOLD the corn to the people so they can make food.  And all the countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn because the famine was so sore in the lands.  Joseph didn’t give it away for free, but he sold it.  The people had to pay for it.

But what does God think about this? Surely, God wanted Joseph to give the corn away, right? I believe our answer is found in Proverbs 11:26.  And I think this because there is no other recording in the scripture of corn being sold.  The scripture says, “blessings shall be upon the head of him that selleth it [corn].”  So, are you telling me it is acceptable to God for Joseph to sell corn to people that will starve to death, but it is not acceptable for Christians to charge for the goods or services they offer?

I know this rattles some theological trees, but that’s OK.  You should never be afraid to challenge your own conclusions. Besides, shouldn’t the bible be the ultimate authority?  Please, understand my point. Do I think some people (even those who claim to be Christians) try to take advantage of the poor and the needy?  Absolutely. You can always find a charlatan selling blessed miracle water or special healing prayer cloths. But, do I think wealthy peoples should give away their possessions, just because they can afford it?  Absolutely not. You should always follow as the Spirit of God leads you, but God isn’t leading everyone down the same path.   The truth is some that have obtained a level of status, success, or achievement accomplished it through hard work and time and chance.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to prosper from accumulated knowledge, wisdom, and understanding or experiences.  And if you are seeking that wisdom (and the bible has tons to say about pursuing wisdom), you have to decide what is it worth to you.  It is your choice.  It’s ok to pay so. ne for their wisdom.  In fact, the bible tells you to do it! Proverbs, 23:23 says, “Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding”.  But it definitely is not wrong to make the offer.

So, maybe in future you will look at Christians that have a presence in the marketplace a little different.  If you don’t have the same appreciation for their services or products as the price tag warrants, that is your prerogative and there is nothing wrong with that.  You have the right to disagree and not purchase.  It is OK. It is fin. Do you, Boo! But don’t judge Christians and vilify them for creating the option to share for monetary compensation available.  Joseph did it. Solomon, the wisest and riches person to every live did it (2 Chronicles 9:22-24).  Why are you NOT doing it? I am just saying. God Bless.


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