Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fair and Square by Martin Wiles

Series: Passing the Ethics Test

Spotless, clean, immaculate, pristine…words that had described my credit record for the past thirty years. But not now.

What I carefully guarded was spoiled by another’s decision and made painfully transparent when I attempted to purchase my next vehicle. Purchasing a two-year-old automobile with 60,000 miles required financing it for five years to obtain an affordable payment. The reason? An excessive interest rate due to my credit rating. I thought it was extremely unfair…even criminal.

Under God’s Old Testament economy, Jews could charge foreigners interest (Deuteronomy 23:20), and interest-as long as it wasn’t exorbitant, was also allowable for business purposes (Leviticus 25:35-37). Evidently, I wasn’t even of foreigner caliber. But profit on loans to their kinsmen was forbidden (Exodus 22:25).

Ethics and interest go together and affect our relationship with God. Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD…Those who do not charge interest on the money they lend (Psalm 15:1, 5 NLT).

Interest free is rare and even then only available to those with spotless credit histories. And no one expects all businesses to operate non-profit. Profit is necessary for investments which are beneficial to the economy. The key involves fairness and our attitude. Making three percent profit is reasonable; collecting $15,000 in interest on a five year loan is criminal.

Obsession with money…greed…is a main ingredient in unfair business dealings. An accurate perspective on money is vital. Everything we possess comes from God, belongs to him, and is to be used in a way that honors him and passes his love to the needy. Business transactions should be fair and honest, and a portion of our money should be given to God and shared with others. How is your attitude about money affecting your dealings with others? How can you better use your possessions to assist the needy?

Prayer: Almighty God, we acknowledge Your ownership of all things. May we use what You entrust to us in ways that recognize Your control and assist our neighbors in their times of need.

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