Money is regarded as most important, for survival, but not a prerequisite for survival in this world. Those with money die, just as those without money also die. There are differences between activities surrounding those dying with money and those dying without money. But, the aspect of dying remains the same. A dead person is not conscious of how the burial is carried out.
A person with money leaves properties and other valuables for his descendants. But there is an aspect of bad money, being a serious liability to those descendants. Yet good money, whose value includes the legacy of the individual concerned, can be a blessing. The Book of Proverbs clarifies the aspect of leaving a good inheritance for children’s children.
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Trouble pursues the sinner, but the righteous are rewarded with good things. A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous”(Proverbs 13:20-22 NIV).
There is wealth, produced by corruption and wealth produced by ethical activities. Those engaging in corruption can also be respected, for accumulating wealth. However, such people’s descendants are left with liabilities that are too ghastly to imagine. Ethical people accumulate wealth whose valued longevity is dependent on the value, benefitting humanity.
I suppose Thomas Edison’s children are still enjoying the benefits, resulting from Thomas Edison’s innovations. Thomas Edison represents one of the examples of good money, fulfilling what is said in Proverbs 13:22. This is different from what happens to a corrupt leader of a country, building an empire, out of corruption.
The children of such leaders appear as privileged, although being beneficiaries of bad money. They hold nothing of value, except wealth, sustained by bad money. To them, life implies enjoying dubious wealth left by corrupt parents. Hence the term corruption means something rotten.
Their children’s children are the beneficiaries of ridicule, as scorned by other humans. Anything valuable carries a lasting admiration to ordinary people. Yet anything disgraceful carries a lasting shame. Wisdom is, therefore, necessary, when separating between good and bad money. The book of Proverbs contains a clear admonition: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death”Proverbs 14:`12 NIV).
Many people are attracted to bad money, knowingly or unknowingly. Yet money solves survival challenges. We hear of passionate decrying against corruption, even from those surviving on corruption. Those people may not even be aware of their activities promoting corruption.
For instance, it is impossible to survive without engaging the black market to buy foreign currency in Zimbabwe. But, the enforcers of the law against the black market, could, themselves, be patrons in foreign currency dealings. Corruption is not exclusively practised by those in power. It involves the mindset.
Many people take advantage of the corrupt system when amassing inexplicable wealth. They desire that the corrupt system remains intact, although they are not directly associated with a corrupt system. To some people, the corrupt system brings a better life. Although appearing as living ethically, such people are indirect enforcers of corruption.
One starts by examing one’s lifestyle when addressing corruption. One asks how many people benefit from one’s activities, leading to the accumulation of wealth when determining whether corrupt or not. One is more corrupt, as long as benefitting fewer people, yet making much money.
True wealth is built upon benefiting more people through one’s activities. The wealth of billionaires, like Bill Gates, cannot be questioned as long as more people benefit from Microsoft Windows. This includes millions more, benefitting from true producers of wealth, as referred to, in Proverbs 13:22.
The correct definition of money is established in the convenience of exchanging commodities. Money, as a medium of exchange, is expedient when compared to barter trading. For instance, if having several goats, it can be difficult to measure value, to exchange those goats for a cow. The negotiation would be cumbersome, before settling for the acceptable exchange.
Negotiating for prices, using money as a medium of exchange, is most convenient. What determines value is the benefit on the commodity, as considered by those in need of a product. Regardless of how esoteric the owner assumes the product to be, it is the buyer who needs to be impressed. As long as that buyer is not impressed, the product would not be worth exchanging for money.
Any product is valuable, when exchangeable for money. Anything tangible or not tangible is valuable, as long as considered valuable by another person. A good singer holds something exchangeable for money. The same applies to a good footballer, whose skills produces results, as admired by others.
One makes money, as long as producing what benefits other people, who then become willing to pay for the product. This is the only legitimate way of making money. A person could still make money corruptly. But that is what leads to misery, conjecturing multiple problems of this world.
A bank robber can instantly become rich, just as an ethical person becomes rich. Any other crook can become rich, but without benefitting anyone. The significance of wealth enhances the survival of the person concerned. There can be five ways of acquiring money in this world.
The first, describes one behaving like a bank robber, procuring millions, lasting his entire life survival. This designates bad money, eventually bringing misery to the individual concerned or his offspring. That person can never be happy, even though admired by ignorant people for the displayed wealth.
The second way of making money can be associated with promising to provide a product to some client, who naively pays, upfront. The buyer would be hoping to receive what is promised, but unable to receive anything. The supplier remains indebted to the buyer but is unable to supply what is promised.
The difference is that the trickster would be identified and can be brought to the courts of law. Such businesses, although having received money, cannot last long. The bad reputation destroys their capacity to stand. The third way of making money is promising to supply according to glamorous advertisements.
The product would be below the standard portrayed in the advert. The consumer would be duped to believe that the product meets his requirements, according to the advert. But the product would then turn out to be different from the promised standard, or quality. This may be difficult to handle in courts, but such businesses can also not survive long.
The fourth way of making money is producing exactly, what is commensurate with the client’s payment. This describes mediocrity in entrepreneurial organizations. The only problem with this type of production is the inability to stand against the competition. As conscious of costs, the supplier cannot stand, when another producer comes up with an extra incentive, like delivery service on time.
The fifth, being the last, but the only one whose longevity outlasts the previous ones, implies providing over and above what is promised. Consider a supplier who, not only provides transport for delivery, but also good packaging, and good customer care? Clients may prefer this type of supplier ahead of the rest in the industry. The longevity of wealth in that type of business can be perpetual as there would always be people in need of excellent products or services.
This type of producer meets the wealth that is described in Proverbs 13:22. It can be difficult to break a relationship, that is established on trust, in terms of supplying what satisfies customers. That type of business is based on altruism, rather than self-centeredness.
While Jesus carried what was unsaleable to ordinary people, He coalesced people around Him, because of providing what those people wanted. There is nothing religious about Jesus’s activities. His popularity remains, after two thousand years, being the principle of altruism. Healing those with different types of infirmities.
Jesus never charged anything for such commendable services, catering for the most vulnerable in those communities. Nothing else led to Jesus’s popularity, although the significance of God’s Kingdom could not be accepted by many. The value of Jesus could not be compared to anything.
The same applies to those who would have become aware of being God’s children. Money is regarded as valuable when representing the significance of the service rendered by a person having become God’s child. But God’s Kingdom cannot be exchanged for money.
The real essence of what humans yearn for, whether aware or not, is God’s Kindom. This is translated into survival, whose significance is determined by what the person does for others. Poor people can be divided into three categories.
The first category being those always thinking in terms of what they can get, rather than what they can give to other people. The majorities of these are beggars on street corners. But they include thousands, as characterized in poor countries, whose governments survive on donations from rich nations.
The second category comprises those producing only what is sufficient for their needs, without bothering themselves about other people. This group is characterized by subsistence farming in communal lands. Such farmers are content with producing only what would be sufficient for their consumption. They may accumulate more, but not for sharing with their peers, who may become envious of their bountiful yields.
The majority of those people seem content with hoarding, rather than supplying to the needy. The person may have as many as hundreds of cattle but is unwilling to sell some of those cattle to buy clothing or better equipment like farm mechanization. The majority of them use excess yields to marry more wives. To them, wealth is about personal gratification, rather than catering for others.
Regardless of their abundance, they are still categorized as poor, due to the quality of their lifestyle. Such people are commonly affected negatively in the event of changes in weather patterns and other natural disasters. They get caught up without any provision to survive under such bad weather conditions.
These are the people who rely much on weather patterns and hard work. But hard work gets limited by health conditions. The third category of poor people comprises those whose minds are corrupt, cutting corners and coming up with deals that make them rich, faster.
In rural areas, they burn bushes, to catch mice that they intend to sell to make profits. They cut woods, without considering the effects of deforestation. They plough in river banks, causing siltation to rivers, depriving themselves and their livestock of clean water and good quality of life.
In towns, such people are not worried about road maintenance, or decent dwelling places. As far as those people are concerned, even street signs are not important, hence vandalised. They may have money but without the idea of using that money to develop better standards of living. While there may be people with skills to handle their problems, they are not willing to utilize such skilled people in their midst.
The bottom line is that poor people do not value themselves. They may value other people from other areas, but not themselves. This happens to be the tragedy, describing most people from African countries. Such people do not think about tomorrow. But they only focus on what they can consume today, without considering what would happen in the following months or years ahead.
All this is a result of not knowing the person’s own identity, which is completely different from his physical identity. That person can only make a difference when realizing that he would be the Son of the living God. He then begins to make a difference in his surrounding, seeking to serve his community.
Such people could therefore make good monies when engaging in business enterprises. The issue of making money can be possible with anyone who discovers his/her true identity. Each individual was created with unique characteristics and values that are not found with any other person.
In other words, each of us holds some peculiar qualities, not possessed by any other, in the entire world. There is no competition, as far as our peculiarities are concerned. The problem has always been to do with not being aware of one’s own identity. Due to degradation, most people love copying other people, rather than being themselves.
After discovering one’s intrinsic talents, one can serve others, professionally, and be able to accumulate wealth, if need be. The talent could be in playing football, singing beautifully, or any other ability that can be accepted internationally. The upshot of it is that the person would be more valuable than the money that he supposes to be more important than himself.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99