a dominion attitude.

I have been thinking a lot about dominion, and the way Christians should view it. Dominion applies to so many areas of life, and it feels like a pretty daunting  idea to tackle. In fact, most of my conclusions and convictions on it are only just recently being fleshed out. I’m very excited about it, which is why I want to share my discoveries, but at the same time my mind is exploding with the possibilities and responsibilities that come along with it.

Dominion does not extend only to the earth, but to all of creation. If you think about all of creation then you must include mankind: families, the church, the homeless, orphans, widows, the unborn, unbelievers, and [place your demographic here]. You must include the behavior of mankind, and the effect of Christianity upon it – government, media, the education system, the church, humanitarian causes, etc.

Are we as Christians loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, and with all our minds? Because the Bible teaches that this is the first and great commandment. I don’t mean love as a mushy-gushy, ooey-gooey, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend feeling. I mean love as an action, love as a hard choice you make, love as defined by the Bible.

1 Chorinthians 13 describes love in this way:

  • If I have not love I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. (just a lot of annoying noise)
  • If I have not love I am nothing
  • If I have not love I gain nothing
  • Love is patient and kind
  • Love does not envy or boast
  • Love is not arrogant or rude
  • Love does not insist on its own way
  • Love is not irritable or resentful
  • Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth
  • Love bears all things
  • Love believes all things
  • Love hopes all things
  • Love endures all things

Are God’s law, commandments, and His will more important to us than the opinions of the pagan culture or our own desires? What is our attitude toward Him when His ways are contrary to what feels comfortable to us? What are our actions when His commands don’t coincide with our lifestyle?

Are we seeking God’s will in every area of our lives? Or are we relying on Dr. Phil, the medical community, the food industry, pharmaceutical companies, popular nutrition, the opinions of our friends, the news, etc. to tell us the best advice, choices, decisions for our lives?

Really think about this.

It is easy to be flippant without intending to be.

1 Corinthians 16:19-20 (ESV)
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

According to these verses (not my own words), we as Christians are vehicles of the Holy Spirit. We are carrying God’s spirit around inside of us wherever we go!

Ahhhh!!!

We are not, as the culture tells us, our own person. Nay, we belong to Christ and were bought at a very high price. That price was the death of a perfect, innocent, sinless life. Are we glorifying God in our bodies, presenting them as sacrifices to God? Are we being transformed by the renewal of our minds, subjecting them to Christ? Or are we following our own pursuits and inviting God to sit shotgun?

We are not owners. We are stewards. Everything we have in the world is on loan. Lets take care of our lives, our time, our money, our families, homes, yards, etc. as though these are God’s possessions. As God’s possessions we should be seeking how God requires us to treat His things. He gave us an Owner’s manual called the Bible with strict and loose instructions on how to do just that. We need to be good investors in His Kingdom. If God lent it to you, take care of it like He wants you to. You may not be able to take it with you to heaven, but you are responsible for it for as long as you do have it. Treat it well.

Jesus told this parable:

Matthew 25:14-30  (ESV)

The Parable of the Talents

 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.  So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.  For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

And I’m not here saying I’m doing this right either. Oh no. I’ve got just as bad an attitude about it as the next person. I get apathetic…and a lot of the time just plain pathetic. I have bad attitudes. I rely on convenience. I flat out sin all the time. I’m not here writing some self-righteous tirade about how I’ve figured it all out and everyone else is a complete idiot. Ha. What a hypocrite that would make me.

But I’m excited.

I am learning things.

I want to share.

These things are going to hurt a lot when I act on them. They are going to go against a sinful nature, a rebellious heart, and a selfish flesh. I’m not going to be good at it.

But I’m going to try to be a good and faithful servant, so that when I meet my Maker, He tells me, “Well done.”

learning to invest

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

~ Questions 1 & 2 of the Westminster shorter Catechism.

As a Christian, I happen to believe that the Bible holds the answers to all of life’s circumstances.

One of the things Joe and I believe strongly about is stewardship. We believe that one of God’s first charges to mankind was to take charge of the earth and care for it wisely (Gen 2:15) . We believe that as wise stewards we need to tend to the earth, and so our first desire is to homestead.

We also believe it is unwise to be in debt, and that it is poor stewardship of money. We believe that being in debt makes us a slave to [paying back] money (Matt 6:24 & Luke 16:13; Rom 13:8; Heb 13:5; 1 Tim 6:10) which is against God’s plan for mankind. Unfortunately in this present economy it seems like we can do nothing without borrowing money unless we are a celebrity, or part of the Gates/Trump empire.

Before our wedding in October, Joe and I wanted to take out a housing loan with a construction loan rolled in for a total of $60,000, which is not a lot, but we found out that since we have ZERO credit (not bad, just not existent) we couldn’t get one. However, if we would take out a few credit cards and pay them off faithfully we could try back in a few months. We just couldn’t justify this means of building credit. So we decided taking out a loan shouldn’t be done. Both credit cards and loans are avenues of debt, and we didn’t have a clear conscience about walking down either of these paths.

We chose the road less travelled. We moved in with my grandfather as a temporary arrangement. This arrangement requires a minimum monthly fee, and shared groceries. All the rest of our earned income goes into savings.

Shortly after our honeymoon, we discovered that Joe and I are expecting a baby! Not planned, but not unwanted (this may be covered in a later post). So now Joe and I don’t have a home, but we are starting a family. We are uninsured because Joe is self employed and we can’t afford it. Did I mention we are poor? How in the world are we going to afford to live? We can’t live with my grandfather while raising our child.

If we aren’t supposed to go into debt, and we aren’t supposed to be slaves to money, what are we supposed to do? The answer is A) Trust God to take care of your needs (Matt 6:25-34), and B) Invest.

Off and on over the last couple of years I have been meditating on the Parable of the Talents. (Go ahead and skip over the story if you already know it.)

Matthew 25:14-30

“Forit will be like a mangoing on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.  For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Without over spiritualizing this, it is a parable based on the stewardship of money. Yes, there is a more abstract meaning behind it, but Jesus used the practical things of life to illustrate the Kingdom because they are related. In this parable the foolish steward was the man who buried his coin and didn’t invest it so that it would produce more. The wise stewards invested their money and turned a profit, and as a result the master gave them even more.

How do poor homeless kids invest what little money they have in a wise way? A CD? Stocks? Savings account?

  • A savings account makes us maybe a couple of dollars a year on our savings. Not really anything to talk about.
  • Stocks are completely unstable. Either they make money or they ruin you. We’d have just as much success taking our money to Vegas.

In 2007, my parents started investing in silver. My dad started studying economics, and found out that the value of silver was starting to increase in value very quickly. We actually thought he was being completely crazy.

But the thing about gold and silver and other precious metals is that their value is constant. The value of the US dollar, however, continues little by little to become inflated and depreciate. Just as the dollar decreases, the value of gold and silver do not. In fact, the more our US currency becomes inflated, the more the value of our precious metals increases. It won’t decrease.

My dad received a 25% appreciation in the silver he bought over the course of a year. When my parents were out of work all winter this year, they first used up all their savings, then sold their silver month by month (which had gained 25% in value since being bought) to make their mortgage payments all winter long until my dad was able to go back to work in the spring doing construction. They had made (and needfully spent) thousands, and are back to buying back silver once more in preparation for the next crisis or just as an inheritance for their children.

In November 2010, Joe and I made our first silver investment through www.silversaver.com. We bought silver for $25 per ounce, and now 4 months later, silver is worth $37 per ounce! The rate of silver is continuing to increase. If you aren’t fluent in money lingo and don’t have money to play with, but are looking for a risk-free way to invest and actually make some serious interest, I highly recommend joining.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Look up the value of gold and silver. Ask a jeweler about how quickly the value of silver and gold jewelery are rising. Gold and silver have been constant valuable commodities throughout history, both industrial and as currency.

Are you being wise with your money? How are you investing? Are you investing at all?