I want to focus on Scripture that always leads us in the right direction, start there and apply it to the historic times we live in today.
What does Scripture say about money? Three references:
Isaiah 55:2 says, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
Also, Micah 3:11, “Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us?’ No disaster will come upon us.”
And, I 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.”
In 2006, I read a book by Jean Strouse called “Morgan, American Financier.” And in it she went through a wonderful, well-researched, studied history of JPMorgan, his morganizations, the trusts that he would set up, the ways in which he would garner these vehicles that would hold peoples money, hold it in a vehicle that would be tax free, so they would be exculpated from having to pay taxes. They would be able to amass money on a huge scale. This process was against Scriptural laws about money: Luke 12:16-18, “Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.'”
These beginning moguls of the Industrial era used this banking system, trust vehicles, to create monopolies: the Standard Oil trust, the U.S. Steel trust, railroad trusts under such financial guys as Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Henry Flagler. The long arm of Rockefeller and Morgan are still reaching into our democratic system today. When we look back at that time it is very interesting to also look ahead to this time and see that’s what is happening today. We have JP Morgan Chase bank still. Alot of the ways in which JP Morgan set up the Federal Reserve and worked this system during the Depression really shows a template for what we need to consider in our time today. Free markets are meant to keep healthy competition but should the free market be so free as to include these kinds of machinations, consolidations, trustifications, morganizations? There are examples today of the same morganizations that were broken up by the antitrust act.
I would like to give a brief history of how sad JP Morgan was in his life, how depressed he was in his life, how at the end of his life he said these things that just really rang an alarm in my own heart to say I never want to hold onto money, and I never want to revere money, and I never want to honor money as a Christian in a way that would keep God out of my life. So he was stradling this fence of “I’m a Christian but this is what I believe about money'” and really was fooled. It was sad, very sad. We’re seeing that today with a lot of people, a lot of Christians too, myself included as I consider money. I don’t want to worry about it more than I trust the power, protection, and provision of Almighty God.
During the 1930 Depression, a law called the Glass-Steagall Act was put into passed and put into practice. Glass Steagall Act was a provision put in to stop the Depression from ever happening again. It separated commercial banking from investment banking. It was a stopgap on greed. It was a law in alignment with Scripture regarding greed.
Our economic meltdown didn’t just happen. There were forces in our society, along with leaders that let it happen. The force of the sin of greed of our leaders on both sides of the aisle participated in bringing down our economy. In 1999, the Glass Steagall Act was repealed under the
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act or Financial Services Modernization Act. This Act included within it the Community Reinvestment Act that addressed supposed bank discrimination regarding loans to low-income neighborhoods. This bill allowed banks to abuse the investment system and it also allowed unfair, false discrimination loan claims. Both processes are against Scripture regarding money and work, not to be too greedy and not taking what you have not earned, not eating if you do not work. For example, if you did not store up labor for a house then you shouldn’t get one free. Both of these problems directly caused the economic meltdown of 2008.
A lot of newcasters have said for a year or more that we are either in a Depression-like Era or going into one soon. I have heard of the Depression Era from my dad who lived through these times and is still living. He told me about men waiting in an orderly, considerate way in soup lines. You may have seen the pictures. If we are going into another Depression era economy, we do not have the same kind of people in the Depression era of the 1930s willing to wait in a civilized manner in soup lines. We have a Depression era economy in combination with moral decline and depravity.
So what is our role as Christians knowing what we know. Certainly, we cannot put our head in the sands. We are to be in the world but not of it. We can humble ourselves, cry, and pray, but we must always act too. We give out the Gospel, lovingly stand on God’s truth, and expose evil. We need to be upstanding in our morals in following Biblical values regarding money.
As Christians we can save up money, save up the essentials, but not idolize money in over collecting it, not idolize money by fearing it, not take a bad penny. I pray you are financially able citizens cause we need to do our work and we need to be free to help others. Scripture proclaims that we should be lenders not borrowers.
The world says we need a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food but we don’t even need that just a cloak and Christ. We are more beautiful than the flowers that spin. We are strengthened by Scripture. He will be with us and provide Himself!
QUOTES ON THE MORGAN FAMILY
“Most transactions between father and son in these years involved money. Jack needed permission for everything he bought, even collars and hats, and approached each negotiation with dread” (209)
“Junius did not take a vacation. (Pg. 73)”
“The moral question that outraged those who considered it profiteering most likely did not enter his calculations. (P95).”
Virginia Osborn’s sister, Amelia called Memie, unpretending, lively, agreeable, self-possessed, charming, intelligent, (P 79).
“Junius’s preoccupation with his guest did not rule out supervising his son’s digestive system by mail: ‘You are altogether too rapid in disposing of your meals, he scolded in March, ‘I urge you to correct it at once, if you do not, dyspepsia with all its attendant evils is sure to be upon you. (P82).”
“Quick tempered, no patience with other people’s mistakes, astringent perfectionism, suavity and gentle bearing towards those with whom we deal goes also a long way towards making up the capital which ensures success (P84)”
Father over his shoulder as he falls in love with Memie. (P90)
Too sick to marry him. He was “bound up in Meme-‘she of all others possesses those qualities of heart and mind best calculated to make his life happy.'” (P96) She dies. She is a beautiful Christian lady.
“He did not mention that his own demands had kept her husband from being with her during her last days. (P101)”
“His minute attention to detail and inability to delegate had to do with both his own desire for control and Junius’s exacting surveillance. (P107)”
“Pierpont’s own health problems had markedly subsided during his years with Memie. After she dies, his trouble returned, and he began to have mysterious ‘nervous’ breakdowns, periodically collapsing with headaches, depressions, and exhaustion. (P107)”
“Pierpont’s gambling outraged his father (P111)”, who by the way trained him up to love money, to slave after it.
New York Times noted, “startling scoundrelism” (P117).
Pierpont in his 20s was susceptible to mood swings, skin problems, and estrangements from his mother. (P117)
He now weighed 200, increasing symptoms headaches, poor digestion inertia, blues. Both he and his wife Fanny suffered from depression. (P119)
Had to be very careful of his health. Distracted himself with parties. Easy money but bad health.
Moral health related to nervous system
He was bound by money early on from his hard driving father.
“Fanny’s diaries have none of Meme’s sparkle or sense of adventure, and myriad ailments curtailed her participation in her husband’s life. (P132)”