4.1 discussion: devotional – is profit biblical?

 

Getting Started

Most theologians and Bible studiers would point out that it is the love of money and not money itself that is the problem—as reflected in our selected verses. Remember Jesus said “Render unto Caesar” so he was not going to get involved in petty stuff like taxes. Where Jesus had a problem was when someone put money over God and having money or the acquisition of money became more important. I don’t see that it is wrong to be paid for your skills. Surely Jesus had no problem with his earthly father being paid to build a house, and there is no reason not to expect people to be paid today whether they are filling racks in a retail store or calculating taxes. We could argue that throwing a football is not worth 1300 times the value of carrying a rifle into harm’s way but that is another topic.

What is profit anyway? Profit is bringing in more than you spend and it has applications at home and at the office, both in for-profit entities and non-profit entities. If you are selling your product for less than it costs to make, you cannot support any charity. You also can’t buy new equipment, or develop new products, or provide raises or employee benefits.

By the way, how did Jesus eat and clothe himself? He was called a carpenter, so we can relatively safely assume that he must have practiced that trade at some point in his life to earn a living. However, it does not appear that he worked later in life because there is no mention of it, so he must have lived off of donations and gifts. Can anyone or any company make a donation or gift without first making a profit? No.

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

  • Develop a biblical framework to resolve ethical dilemmas in marketing strategies and tactics.

Resources

  • Bible (New International Version)

Background Information

  • And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV)
  • No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24, NIV)
  • Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24, NIV)
  • For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV

Instructions

  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. You identified a company or industry of interest to use in your degree program. Until the world finds a way to not need charities, we need profitable organizations to pay good wages to generate the ability to personally donate. There is often public debate about “reasonable profit.” What is reasonable? Is it an after-tax rate of 3%? 6%? 13%? What about the years when profit is -4% or -11%, meaning a loss was incurred? Can a company then be allowed to make 18% the next year for an average of 7% if 7% is considered “reasonable”? Who and what determines “reasonable profit?”
  3. Consider these questions and post your thoughts on them:
    1. Is profit inherently evil or can it exist in the kingdom of God? Please explain.
    2. Is there such a thing as unreasonable profits in your company or industry of interest? If so, how do we determine that level where profits become unreasonable? If not, what do you say to those who feel there is?