[notice] A fortnightly column by Johannesburg Business Editor, Patrick Kuwana. In today’s Kingdom Business he says escalating financial scandals are the start of the collapse foreseen in the Bible. But what does this mean for believers?[/notice]
On July 3 Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan accused banks and financial institutions of being “greedy monsters” who seek to maximise profits at all costs, to the detriment of ordinary people.
Gordhan said banks played a role in the 2008 financial meltdown by offering mortgage loans to people who could not afford to pay them. This resulted in SA losing millions of jobs – and R60 billion . He said the country was still trying to recover from the crisis.
He also referred to Barclays Bank in London, which stands accused of manipulating “interest rates so that they could make more money for themselves…”
Gordhan said “With the Barclays saga of the last few weeks, it illustrates brilliantly the fault lines in the banking sector. It illustrates dishonesty, manipulation of prices and information, profiteering at any cost and little regard to the ordinary people and the cost to them. People think they can play games and be the only ones who benefit,” he said.
This week we have just seen the HSBC scandal break out with the shocking news that Britain’s biggest bank allowed rogue states and drugs cartels to launder billions of pounds through its branches. HSBC stands accused of fostering such a ‘polluted’ culture it became a conduit for criminal enterprises.
Everything that is in the dark will eventually be exposed
I don’t think that believers should be shocked at these news stories – in fact we should actually get used to seeing more of them and even more serious ones coming to light in the near future. The Bible clearly tells us that everything that is in the dark will eventually be exposed and that is exactly what we are starting to see in financial markets. The Light of the World is shining on economies and the darkness will never be able to extinguish it. (John 1:5 – The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.). It is time for the world to realise that “Nothing in creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are all accountable to.”(Hebrews 4:13)
What financial markets and global economies are starting to go through right now is exactly what the Bible tells us will happen and is the consequence of worshiping mammon. (Matthew 6:24 – ‘No one can serve two masters. For you will hate the one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon’).
Everything that is not built upon the foundation of God will be shaken and will collapse. The global financial and economic systems have been built upon the foundation of mammon which produces greed, pride and materialism and they are now collapsing. (Hebrews 12:27 – This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakeable things will remain).
Jesus teaches us about the importance of building on the rock and the consequences of building on sand in Matthew 7:21-27. In fact the way He starts this teaching is quite thought provoking because he says ‘Not everyone who calls out to me, Lord, Lord will enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter’.
So what does this all mean for believers?
Firstly we should certainly not be panicking or fearful because our loving Father has given us prior warning and also a solution for what we need to do. Revelation 18:4 gives us a clear instruction which I believe is meant for us right now – ‘Then I heard another voice calling from heaven, “Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins, or you will be punished with her.”
So what we should be doing is taking stock of our position and asking ourselves critical questions such as:
- What is at the centre of my business, working life and the deals that I am doing? Is it God or mammon?
- What foundation is my business or my personal economic affairs built on? Is this foundation built on biblical principles or is it built upon the wisdom of the world?
- Is my trust in God or in my personal wealth?
The answers to these questions should determine the next course of action that we need to take
If our foundation is built on the ‘rock’ then we know that we are in alignment with God and that the financial and economic turmoil will in fact be the greatest opportunity for God’s glory to shine as He prospers us in the same way He did to Isaac. (Genesis 26:1 – ‘A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time’. Genesis 26:12 – ‘When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him’).
If our foundation is built upon ‘sand’ then we need to humble ourselves, pray, seek the Lord’s face and turn away from our wicked ways so that he can heal our business affairs and economy. (2 Chronicles 7:14 – ‘Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land (economy).’) We serve a loving Father – it’s never too late for us to turn to him and cross over into His Kingdom economy and way of doing business.