Counting Your Shekels

The kingdom of heaven is like this. A certain merchant established his business, and he thought that God had an obligation to bless it. He took great care to do everything that he was supposed to do. He made sure the business was closed on Sunday, and he made doubly sure to tithe his profits carefully. He was a member of a local church, and he attended regularly. He learned all the rules and he obeyed them carefully. He then sat back and waited for his profits to start rolling in.

When those less fortunate than he needed help, he sometimes gave it. That is one of the rules, he thought. I need to be generous, and so I will be generous—but not to a fault. Everything can be taken to an extreme, he thought, and of course, he was quite right on paper.

Because he worked hard, and because he was very interested in money, it is not surprising that after a time, he found he had accumulated some money. This he took as vindication of his whole outlook—the covenant is like a vending machine. If you do your part, God will do His part. God helps those who help themselves. The laws of business are a means to bring God under our control.

Of course, he knew better than to say this. What he said was that he was extremely grateful that God had prospered him. To God be all the glory.

But God, who sees the heart, summoned from across the nation a national retailer, with the best margins in the business, and the local baal was replaced by the greater Baal. And instead of glorifying God, everyone said that a great injustice had been done, and blamed the whole thing on globalization.

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