Christians doing business

Luke 3:12,13 - Then came also publicans [tax collectors] to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

In today's message we see some tax collectors came to be baptized in water. They repented for their the sinful lives they lived and wanted the forgiveness of God in their lives and as per the teaching of repentance of John the Baptist they were wanting to be baptized in water, declaring the repentance to themselves and unto others.

While they came to be baptized they were worried about continuing their profession as tax collectors, a profession that was most hated by people. People knew by default the tax collectors always collected more tax than required and that extra they would pocketed by themselves.

As explained by a historian for the people of Judea an annual tax was partly paid with money and partly in salt since salt was a very valuable asset for the Romans. The Romans also had taxes for other things like when one got married or divorced. It was these taxes that hurt the Jews more than the annual tax.

The tax was not a fixed amount but a variable amount depending on the tax payer's income and race, Jews were maximum taxed and it was up to the tax collector to assess the amount if tax the person needed to pay. So the Jews were at the mercy of the tax-collector.

Today in business we have a variable factor called profit. Profit is not illegal but a legal variable amount a person adds to the cost of a product or service a person provides unto others.

As Christians we are to live a life of example, thus our profit margin also needs to be justified. In the book of Moses God gave instructions of how to do business between Israelite themselves and between others dwelling them.

Between themselves (that means our brethren) they were told not to charge extra. That would mean sell at the cost, not our purchase cost but cost to owner that would include overheads and labour. But to those who dwelled among them (other people who were not brethren) they were told to be reasonable and to not rob them. That meant the profit margin should be justified and not that like of an opportunist, putting ourselves in their place as customers / buyers.

Today it is very rare to see people doing business with ethics. Everyone wants to make hay when the sun shines and this hay includes taking what is of others. It is sad to see even Christians behaving like worldly people whose profitability depends not on the product or service but on the customer, how innocent or shrewd he or she is. Jesus tells us in today's message to be true to our guilt and not to behave like opportunist feeding our greed.

Let us always remember God is our provider our Father and customers are just vessels through whom God provides. Trying to rob customers is like a child whom its father gives a chocolate and is not satisfied, so puts his or her hand into the father's every pocket to see if he or she can get more chocolates. When the child is very little and innocent it may look sweet but later this sweetness becomes sourness and shows the greed and carnal nature of the child. This behaviour is never appreciated by the father, especially when the father is also providing good food and clothing to the child.

Let us not be carnal children, when we do we declare ourselves as children of Adam and not of Christ. Paul a full time minister also did business of making and selling tents. He did make profit and used this to cover not only his own expenses but also the expenses of people with him. He also managed to save some money with people for emergencies.

[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, even though we live in this world we pray we do not behave like the worldly people. Let us be an example unto others. Let us not be opportunist in worldly thing but in spiritual things. Teach us to desire things we need and not things we want. Help us to always remember greed was first things that bought a very anointed Cherub like Lucifer to become evil. We pray Lord for your guidance in every deal we do...

This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.

[ Reference ]
Exodus 22:21- Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 23:1-12

Leviticus 19:33-37
33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.
36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
37 Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.

Acts 18:1-3
1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

Acts 20:33-35
33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The Word of God was given free to us, therefore we should also share it freely with others.
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