Continuing fight for gold resources a picture of final battle?

[notice] A fortnightly column by Johannesburg Business Editor, Patrick Kuwana. [/notice]

The business media this week has once again been filled with stories on mining but with the gold sector taking prominence. On Sunday (October 21) evening the DSTV show Carte Blanche aired a feature on the BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) deal put together by Goldfields – the South African based global top 10 gold producer. The story exposed a web of greed and deceit across shareholders, executive management, government officials and some so called ‘connected’ people who facilitated the deal. The official statement from the company is that the deal was engineered to ‘reward people who most contributed to the democratic transition of South Africa’ and to benefit workers and previously disadvantaged communities. I am sure I don’t need to elaborate on who has and is still really benefiting from this deal so far!

Putting riches ahead of God’s most prized possession (other humans) is one of the greatest abominations in God’s sight.

On Wednesday (October 24) it was reported that AngloGold, another global top 10 gold producer has fired 12 000 of its staff who have refused to go back to work.

The strikes have changed the nature of labour in Africa’s biggest economy, Impala Platinum chairperson Khotso Mokhele told reporters after the company’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg. “Of course the strike changed the labour dynamics,” he said. “It clearly is changing the dynamics of the mining sector as a whole and one could argue, in the entire industrial relationship set-up in the country.”

In another sign the unrest was continuing to spread, coal miner South African Coal Mining Holdings said that some of its operations had been interrupted due to a new union-led strike over wages.

Gold Fields sacked 8 500 wildcat strikers at its KDC East mine on Tuesday (October 23) after they ignored an ultimatum. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) also sacked 12 000 at its Rustenburg operations earlier this month.

Gold – the never ending source of wealth and economic value
What I find very interesting is that gold has been the primary symbol of wealth and economic value since the beginning of time and will continue until the end, if we go by what we see in the source of truth – the Bible.

In Genesis 2:11-12 we read about gold as the first mineral resource that God placed in the Garden of Eden and that it was ‘exceptionally’ pure. When our King, Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born the first visitors on the scene presented Him with gold as their first gift (Matthew 2:11). I have a strange feeling that when Jesus comes back again we will offer Him gold as a welcoming love gift offering. Our final destination – the ‘New Jerusalem’ as described in Revelation 21:18-21 talks about the city of pure gold with streets paved with gold.

As I thought about this significance of gold in God’s eyes and in His Kingdom (which we can track all the way from Genesis until Revelation), it made me think if what we are seeing right now is a prophetic picture of the spiritual and natural battle that will take place in the last days over critical resources on the earth.

Man has abused the mineral resources that God has created and used them to enrich himself while oppressing other human beings. Putting riches ahead of God’s most prized possession (other humans) is one of the greatest abominations in God’s sight.

Close assessment of where we stand
As believers we need to honestly look at ourselves and make sure we are not part of this system that God will ruthlessly judge.  The word of God gives a clear warning to rich oppressors from James 5:1-6 :  Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

God actually gives His children an opportunity to repent and get out of this system when He says in Revelation 18:4 : Then I heard another voice from heaven say: ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues’.

We all have the choice to stay in the system or get out – the consequences of either decision are very clearly spelt out in the bible.

Biblical profit
Let’s get one thing straight – God is not against profit, in fact He wants and expects His children to prosper. In the parable of the three servants (Matthew 25:14-30) – we see the master throwing the unprofitable servant into outer darkness and rewarding the ones who made a good profit from the assets the master had given them to trade.

Biblical profit is the spiritual and natural gains after all costs are deducted from a business transaction or the revenue of the business.  It’s profit gained in an environment where everyone wins – the business stewards win as they create wealth to channel as a blessing to the world, the employees win because they are fairly compensated and treated, clients win because they are sold quality products ethically, suppliers win because they are paid fair value for their services, government wins because taxes are paid honestly, the church wins because tithes and offerings are brought in, and in fact one of the most critical stakeholders – the family wins (husbands, wives and children,) as workers are encouraged in the work environment to honour and not neglect their  God ordained family covenant. Biblical profit can only be made when we honour the greatest commandment to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbour as our selves.

The same principle of loving our neighbour applies whether it’s the mining workforce in a top 10 gold producer or if it’s a house maid or gardener working in our home.  James 5: 1- 6 applies to both scenarios.

We should always remember Deuteronomy 8:18 – ‘But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today’.

 

6 Comments

  1. thanks for this article. What is meant by the following excerpt from the Mail and Guardian, and what does this imply for our communities?: “Cosatu’s policy proposals include strategic nationalisation of key economic sectors of the economy, including minerals and the Reserve Bank, and the urgent introduction of comprehensive social security”?

    • Hi Louise – thanks for the comment and question. Nationalisation is a process where government takes ownership of business assets such as mines. It’s effectively taking business ownership away from private people and giving government ownership. I believe this is a very dangerous position because this will mean government will control the economy instead of the citizens of the country. The mandate for any government is to create a conducive political environment for free market business to take place – its not for them to own and control businesses and certainly not the financial markets. The social security is meant to help the poor by giving them a certain amount of money or subsidies every month. It’s a noble thing but it needs to be done in a way that does not increase the ‘entitlement’ mentality that this currently plaguing this country. Please send me a direct email on patrick@crossovertransformation.co.za and I can send you more information and also some biblical based thoughts on this. Blessings and I hope this has helped answer your question.

  2. I am with you all the way, Patrick, but why did you stop short of revealing the whole heart of God in Mathew 25. You see, the Mathew 25:14-30 story without the Mathew 25:31-46 part, is a half truth. Each part of that chapter was never meant to be taught apart from the other. God is not a capitalist, neither is He socialist. In fact, there is very little in any political party in SA, or abroad, that even slightly resembles the Kingdom of God. I hope we never get to become like many Americans who are deceived into believing that voting for a particular party (Republicans) is like voting for God. The ANC might have invented BEE, but they did not invent greed, it was alive and well here in SA long before they came into power. Worse still, the political powers of those days were encouraged to pursue their greed by the religious powers, who used Old Testament scriptures to back them up. For example, Israel’s taking over land that never belonged to them was seen as God’s endorsement for us to continue our pilfering and exploitation in this country. Unfortunately, like the natural Israel, we Christians have always forgotten our part of God’s very first covenant with us – that we will be blessed by Him so that the nations of the earth shall be blessed by us. In Deuteronomy 8:18, God is simply saying that when He has done His part, we must remember the deal, and go and do our part. But unfortunately, when we do remember that covenant, we conveniently put on our dualistic spectacles and apply only the spiritual meaning of it, as important as that may be. Without a doubt, un-Godly and unrighteous wealth gain will lead to a man’s destruction. More importantly for those of us Christians who watch these things in horror, we need to carefully remember that throughout the scriptures, the Bible makes it very clear that good hard work will provide one’s needs, but Godly wealth will only come through the Lord’s favour on us…………..until we forget our part of His covenant with us which calls us to bless others. Or until we become like the Dead Sea and die (spiritually). Wealth outside of God’s covenant is a cruel and deceitful god in itself, blinding the politicians from their just causes and the spiritual from their righteous callings and destinies alike.

    • Hi Sonja – I absolutely agree with you that the entire Matthew 25 is relevant to the discussion but I just didn’t have enough space to cover it all. Even verses 1 to 13 are very relevant because Jesus is trying to get us to understand that those who don’t prepare now and make a decision to follow His ways now will miss the ‘end party’ because Jesus will declare that he doesn’t know them. From verse 31 Jesus carries on and makes it very clear that there is no middle ground – we are either in His Kingdom or we are not. The profit that is made in verses 14-30 is supposed to be for blessing the world (naturally and spiritually) and that’s why He speaks about the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, etc in verses 31 onwards. As the body of Christ we really need to get an understanding of God’s economic system because it is very different to capitalism and communism. I don’t have space to elaborate here but if you send me an email I can send you a few articles about this. Your point about government is also critical and true – Jesus did not come to establish a natural government – he did not try and overthrow the Roman government (despite His disciples and followers initially thinking that he was going to do this). We must not think that Jesus will bring about His purposes for this country through a political party. Christians in the USA need to understand this and we do too. His purposes will be brought about by His chosen channel – the church. (By the way the church does not mean the institutions/denominations etc established by man – those can be part it but the true body means believers who die to the world and are obedient to His ways and commands and bring about the manifestation of His will on earth as it is in heaven). Belonging to a denomination or following a particular leader does not make a church – the only criteria for being part of the ekklesia is absolute obedience to Yahweh.

  3. A great and extremely well-considered article

  4. Good article and great commentaries. Thanks Patrick and Sonja