Matthew 25:14-18 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”
To do what we have got to do in the world today – we need money. To evangelize the world, to be involved in the cultural mandate that God has given us – it will take money. So when it comes to money we cannot be neutral.
We know from Paul’s teaching that the love of money is the root of all evil. However, money is essential to get by in this world. We know that money is important because we see how often money is mentioned in the Word of God.
Do we work for money or do we have money work for us? There is a big difference. There is a proverb that says, “Under the mattress stash is a recipe for financial disaster.” And Jesus told us to put our money to work.
The word for money in God’s language (Hebrew) is the word “Keceph.” It consists of three letter’s: Peh, Sameech and Kaf. According to Rabbi Lapin the first letter ‘Kaf’ and the last letter ‘Peh’ together mean ‘both the palm of the hand and the sole of the foot.’ Interesting!
In other words, this brings out the two methods of adding value to an object or money. With the hand we work, and with the sole of our foot we transport. These two would go together in adding value to an object. However, the middle letter for the Hebrew word ‘money’ brings out how to maximize its value.
It is interesting Rabbi Lapin brings out that this middle letter “Sameech” does not appear until the second chapter of Genesis regarding the rivers surrounding the Garden of Eden. In other words, this letter shows up with a word meaning “encircle, or surround.”
Genesis 2:13 “The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush.”
What does this mean in regards to money? We are to circulate money and not put it under the mattress which is “a recipe for financial disaster,” as the proverb states. In other words, money gains in value when it is circulated: loaned and invested, like it says in the New Testament we “put it to work.”
God is showing us how the world really works regarding money. When money is hoarded instead of being put to work it leads to a slowing down of the economic system and brings about low unemployment, the bread lines for the poor, recession (economy beginning to collapse), which leads to a ‘depression’ (collapse of economy) that often lasts for several years.
So, money that is given through subsidies (socialism) is not putting money to work, but working towards what is known as “egalitarianism” (equal outcome, classlessness). It is the distribution of money which is not wise because it does not put money to work. In socialism government works to be heavily involved with the people’s money because it will take a strong power to take from those ‘who have’ to give to those ‘who do not have.’
My question is: Is socialism biblical, or godly, in regard to how money is used?
With ‘capitalism’ it is different than ‘socialism,’ because little government is involved in how our money is used, and property is privately owned and protected by law. Capitalism is driven by self-interest, and the people putting their money to work. Like Adam Smith, the 18th century philosopher and father of modern economics said: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
Competition is a key element for putting money to work, and brings about social welfare benefitting the producers and consumers. A key element in capitalism is the freedom to choose and compete. One of the most powerful things that God has given us is a ‘free will’ and the power to ‘choose.’
I go back to what the Hebrew word for money means and Jesus’ interpretation of it in Matthew 25:14-30. The disciples that put their money to work received praise from the Lord, but the one who does nothing with what God gives him received condemnation.