Lindi Zulu writes for us: Before I say I do

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…Single, never been married.

…Divorced or separated.

…Widows or widowers.

…Recent college graduates or students.

…People who have emerged from same-sex relationships.

…Independent and successful professionals who are aware of the quiet ticking away of their child-bearing years.

…Any of the above with a child or two that was conceived in or out of wedlock, virgins, those who have been around the block a few times, those who made it to the block but didn’t really go all the way around it, the broken-hearted, the naïve and starry-eyed romantics, the sceptics, the love veterans who came back from the battle of their lives, the proverbs 31 wannabes, the desperately seeking, those with hobbies and ministries to keep them happily pre-occupied….

This whole list is broken down into one very simple term in the church… “The Singles” – One monolithic block of inexplicably unmarried people.

Compare these people to the Pastors and Church Elders who have been married to the same woman since the beginning of time, have neat little families all loving the Lord together and looking like bright and shining examples of God’s plan for all of humanity and you can see right away that there’s a cultural disconnect somewhere between the “The Singles” and these people.

Why?

The unprecedented explosion of single adult households that we are currently in the midst of is the underlying cause of the disconnection. It’s one of three demographic changes that the marketing research firm Yankelovich Partners is advising Fortune 100 companies to consider if they hope to “stay on top”.

Seeing single mommies, bachelors well into their forties – still dating, bachelorettes who have it all together but no-one to share it with, etc. is becoming more and more common in society and the dating pool is getting wider and wider, teeming with people who are single and ready to mingle, but quantity isn’t really the issue when you’re looking for a life-partner, quality is.

When society devalues the institution of marriage and writes off its credibility, it’s no wonder that brokenness shows up in the church. With the hands-off approach parents and elders have slowly adopted when it comes to the dating habits of today’s singles, many single adults tend to go adrift in their pursuit of a life-partner, not sure if they should even be asking for help meeting and marrying wisely for fear of looking like they’re unsatisfied, too eager, interfering with God’s divine timing, unable to produce the fruits of self-control and long-suffering etc.

One wise pastor once told a group of single adults that he was sympathetic to the challenges of “Endless Opportunity”. Because he was a pastor, father and husband, the boundaries of his day were fairly well-defined from the moment he woke up in the morning. He knew his responsibilities and the priorities he had to attend to and didn’t have to spend a lot of time deciding what he was supposed to do, when and with who.

Single adults on the other hand have so many options that are available to them each day that making the wrong choice is fairly easy. I mean, unlike a generation or two ago, two singles can hook up, decide to move in together without getting married and not even consider that they are missing out on anything by choosing not to officially tie the knot. They’ll just do everything else without all the heavy commitments.

And this isn’t going to make much sense, but contrary to popular belief, my personal belief and conviction is that as a result of this current state of affairs (no pun intended) marriage is more relevant today than ever before.

Stay with me now, I’m about to explain.

There was a time when marriage was a given due to societal norms. Now it is a choice that is made as a statement of faith in true love despite the depravity of society, a choice borne out of the conviction that the person you love deserves your faithfulness and the security of a covenant that is made before God, both families and friends, a choice that isn’t externally induced by society but internally induced by a need to follow a divine order because you value this union and want it to be the foundational platform for future generations that will be born out of it.
Whether or not it is endorsed by movies and music videos, whether or not your own parents had a successful marriage, whether or not the statistics declare that the odds are stacked up against you, you still take that step, selflessly and sacrificially forsaking all others for one when you could have as many as you want if you’re willing to buy all those drinks at the club.

What I’m realizing is that what were once good reasons to get married in my parents’ time are rapidly becoming irrelevant today. For example:

So we can live together. Many couples live happily together for many years without getting married and it’s no longer frowned upon.

For sex. Please.

Financial Security. Both men and women now have the capacity to earn the income of their choice in relation to their skills to achieve a certain lifestyle without anyone having to rely on the other.

So we can have children. Many couples who live together eventually have children out of wedlock too and that’s no longer frowned upon either.

To make our relationship official. You could achieve that by posting up on Facebook that “…. And I are now OFFICIAL” and tag all the people that really really needed to know that and proceed changing your profile picture to one of those “they’re obviously officially together” pictures.

Cooking, cleaning, etc. Get a maid.

So what are we left with?

Well, marriage makes a relationship divine. It’s bigger than you and your feelings for each other, because marriage introduces God into the relationship and makes Him an integral link between the two of you. Until they are married, a couple’s commitment to each other is a human commitment, with all the limitations of being human. We can’t predict the future, what may change in and around us, how the other partner will wrong us. But the marriage covenant elevates the commitment beyond human limitations. It makes the union sacred.

The world has shown us that marriage doesn’t work.

But of course…It’s marriage our way in our own strength through our own intellect.

Of course it won’t work.

It’s not supposed to.

Only after the wedding is your love rescued from superficiality, selfishness and temporality, but blessed with the divine imprint of eternity.

Not that this ideal is dangling like a carrot at the end of my singlehood. It’s not the reward for being a good single person, for memorising enough scriptures, for praying hard enough, for all the occasions of self-denial I have survived etc.

I’m just willing to accept this ministry if and when it comes, understanding full well that as the steward of my husband’s life, I will release Him back into Our Father’s hands one day with an account of how I served faithfully in the position of his wife with the understanding that it never really was about me…

http://lindiwezulu.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/before-i-say-i-do/

Phila Dlamini Writes For Us: Stepping Into Tomorrow

Phila is a Public Relations Specialist who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Communications from the University of Johannesburg, a post graduate qualification in Public Relations (PRISA) and another one in Project Management from Milpark Business College.
Phila believes that knowledge is power and that without it, people perish. She regards herself as a student of the word, a debater of pertinent issues in society and an exhorter.

She writes for us about Stepping Into Tomorrow.

I have come to a place in my life where I am convinced that our thoughts really do have the power to direct our tomorrow because by our thoughts we project a picture of the future. How you project into your tomorrow has an impact on the next step you will take and how your tomorrow will receive you. It has an impact on whether you step out as a confident or timid person, as a hopeful or hopeless person, as a bitter or fulfilled person and on it goes.

Looking at Genesis 41:14 “so Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh”.

As desperate as Joseph was to get out of that dungeon, he didn’t just dash out of there excited that his time had come to be called out, he understood that he could not present himself to his future looking like his past. Some people would have just walked out saying “ah well, everybody knows I have been in a dungeon all this time, they will understand my dress code and appearance. It’s not a big deal”. But it is, how we present ourselves where we go determines how we will be received. It determines whether we will be asked to stay or leave. Even though he had been in the dungeon for 2 years, he didn’t adopt dungeon mentality, he kept his day of favour in his mind that when it finally came, he knew exactly what to do. He had made up his mind that where he was may have been his today, but certainly not his tomorrow.

When he stepped out, he didn’t do it looking like the prisoner that everyone knew he was, but he stepped out as a man ready to step into his destiny.
If you read the rest of the story, you will see he became governor of Egypt. I wonder what would’ve happened had he arrived looking or smelling like prison, he probably would’ve been thrown right back in after serving his purpose, he probably wouldn’t have even been allowed within 100 feet of Pharaoh. His future would’ve rejected him.

Clothes provide a covering for our bodies. If my future could be dressed, my thoughts would be the clothing. Our thoughts dress the future and if we are going to step into our tomorrow, we are going to have to present ourselves to the future in the right way. What do I mean? Just to make an example, some women (I am not picking on women, it’s just easier to talk in that vein because I myself am one) will say “men are just good for nothing” and yet they hope to one day be in a relationship and ultimately marry (obviously this is not everyone, I am just making an example). You cannot hope to step into a happily ever after thinking like that, you cannot present yourself to your future and hope it will be rosy holding onto the past, especially one that even when you think when brought to mind doesn’t bring peace.

Changing your clothing is so important that Jesus after raising Lazarus from the dead said to them concerning Lazarus “take off the grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:44). Lazarus had been dead and buried in the tomb, he had grave clothes on which were fitting for the state he was in but were not fit for where he was going. Jesus knew and understood that well which is why he commanded that the grave clothes be removed and he be let go. I cannot be released from where I am to where I need to be if I think like where I am or where I have been – I am going to have to defy my present and think like where I am going.

Sometimes in my mind I like to think that for Lazarus to have been awakened from his dead state into being alive, there had to be a willingness and longing somewhere inside him that caused his spirit to respond when Jesus called him out. He didn’t want to be dead, he wanted to be alive. What do your thoughts say about you? Do they say you want to live or want to remain dead? Now I am not that careless to even think or suggest that we can do it on our own, we can’t. What I am suggesting is that we have the power to choose right thoughts. I would also like to suggest that your thoughts should serve you and not the other way around.

If we want to go to the next level, if we hope to one day stand infront of kings like Joseph, we are going to have to change our minds. We are going to have to change our minds about how we see our money, our weight, our children, our family, our friends and the list goes on, we are going to have to change our minds about how we see ourselves. Doesn’t matter what label or sticker they have put on you, it’s time to change our minds. Doesn’t matter who said you can’t, or won’t, or will never, you are going to have to change your mind about that and step out in that direction. It’s time to bring out the child in us that dreamt of one day becoming a doctor or fire fighter or whatever you were thinking, the child that dared to dream in spite of the situation.

In the words of Henry Ford “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right “. It’s time to think about what we think about. I mean seriously think about what you think about. If it doesn’t bring you joy or inspiration, don’t entertain it. Remember, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). You are your thoughts.

Victoria Maloka Writes: Kingdom Heirs and Business During Economic Meltdown

Victoria Maloka is an international civil servant with extensive knowledge and experience of human rights and democratisation spanning various functions in international, regional and national institutions. Among others, Victoria has served in different capacities with the UN, African Union, South African Human Rights Commission, the Centre for Conflict Resolution as well as with the South African government.

She has worked on human rights, democratisation and peace-building process in many African countries, among others Zimbabwe, Zambia, DRC, Tanzania, Nigeria, The Gambia and Western Sahara. Internationally, Victoria has supported human rights and democratisation efforts in countries such as Nepal, The Philippines as well as Serbia and Montenegro.

 A lawyer by training, Victoria holds BIuris and LLB Degrees from the University of Limpopo, an LLM in Human Rights and Constitutional Practice from the University of Pretoria as well as a Diploma in Peace and Security from the University of Upsalla, Sweden. She has contributed publications on conflict management, peacebuilding, human rights , constitutionalism and democratisation. Victoria is also co-editor of a book titled “National Human Rights Institutions in Africa: Defenders of Human Rights, Managers of Conflict, Builders of Peace?”

She writes for us.

A conversation with a dear friend about challenges companies are experiencing due to the ongoing recession, gave me a lot of food for thought about the responses of Christians to the world economic meltdown. Some comments he made that caught my attention are to the effect that there is a slow down in business in SA due to the recession and companies depending on government tenders are in trouble as less business is forthcoming from government and related entities. This means many more companies are facing possible closure, including those established and owned by Christians.

A layperson that is me that dreams of one day creating massive wealth for the Kingdom of God was moved by the conversation. With the understanding that government does not have to be the only source of business, although remaining a primary one, I asked myself questions, with no attempt at providing answers about Kingdom heirs and their business in times of recession:

1. If God is calling us to transform the marketplace and bring back the wealth of the righteous from the hands of the wicked (Proverbs 13: 22), then how do we Christians access that wealth that the Lord has stored for us during these kind of economic conditions? In that regard, how do we invoke the same spirit that brought back the wealth of Egypt and the world into the hands of Joseph following seven years of prosperity and seven years of famine(Genesis 47: 13 -26)?

2. How do we shift our focus from the reality of the world around us (there simply is no business or government gives fewer tenders) to what  the WORD of God says about wealth creation (God gives me power to get wealth -Deuteronomy 8: 18)?

3. At what stage does the Kingdom-minded business person shift attention from the world economic system to the WORD economic system where God provides all needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)?

4. As citizens of the richest Kingdom of all time and its ambassadors on earth, when do we invoke our faith to direct the kind of action that will bring us the desired returns in these times of recession (i.e. faith followed by works that create wealth)?

5. How do we remain blinded to the world economic system to wholly (i.e. emotionally, spiritually and intellectually) focus on the WORD economic system? Put differently: how does Peter walk on water completely blinded and deafened to the raging sea and blustering wind around him to remain focused on Jesus?

6. Is it possible that somewhere in the springs of the seas and the recesses of the deep lies some mysteries about Kingdom strategies that Kingdom citizens must employ to bring Kingdom wealth back into the hands of its rightful heirs?

7. To access those mysteries, what is expected of a Kingdom citizen operating in the market place ravaged by recession?

A “penny” for your thought…..

“The Jewish Phenomenon,” Economic Success and Fabulous Wealth

Compiled by Kufara Gwenzi

Two percent of the US population, about 6 million of America’s 300 million people, are Jewish (in the world of 6 billion people, there are only 13 million Jews, only one-fifth of 1%).

  •  The banking Medici Dynasty was behind the Renaissance and they were Jewish. 400 hundred years later, the banking Rothschild Dynasty was founded by a German Jew.
  • The American Rockefeller Dynasty was founded by a German Jew.
  • Chicago School of Economics was founded by Austrian Jews.
  • The banking powerhouse JP Morgan founded by a Jew.
  • Various sources of influential ideas around the world were started and are run by Jews.
  • Cecil John Rhodes and his close friend Alfred Beit were Jews.
  • Anglo American Corporation was founded by Ernest Oppenheimer, a Jew.
  • The powerful media houses (Economist magazine, Financial Times newspaper, Forbes magazine, Fortune  magazine, New York Times newspaper, Washington Times newspaper, etc) around the world are owned by Jews.
  • Facebook was started and is owned by a Jew, Mark Zuckerberg (an almuni of “Alpha Epsilon Pi,” a Jewish college fraternity and born to a dentist father and psychiatric mother who later became a business development manager of her husband);
  • Google was started and is owned by Jews Sergey Brin of Russian origin (born to a mathematician father and economist mother) and Larry Page (born to a professor of computer science father and computer programming teacher);
  • Andre Citroen, a French entrepreneur and pioneering car manufacturer;
  • Larry King, former anchorman of CNN.

Some more prominent are:

  • Roman Abramovich, a Russian Jew;
  • George Soros, Wall Street investor and foreign currency speculator;
  • Alan Greenspan, Chairman and president of Townsend-Greenspan, economic consulting firm; former Federal Reserve Chairman;
  • Marcus Goldman, co-founder of Goldman Sachs investment bank;
  • Samuel Sachs, co-founder of Goldman Sachs investment bank;
  • Calvin Klein, Founder and CEO of Calvin Klein;
  • Ralph Lauren, Founder of Polo Ralph Lauren;
  • Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, Inc;
  • Howard Schultz, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks Coffee;
  • Julius Rosenwald, President and Chairman of the Board of Sears;
  • Herbert Allen, Jr., CEO of entertainment investment house Allen & Company;
  • Edgar Bronfman Jr., CEO of Seagram, Viacom;
  • Barry Diller, CEO of 20th Century Fox and QVC;
  • Gerald Levin, Time Warner, CEO of HBO; Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney;
  • David Geffen, co-founder of Dreamworks, CEO of Geffen Records;
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of Dreamworks, Disney;
  • Sumner Redstone, chairman of CBS and Viacom;
  • Michael Ovitz, President of Disney, founder of CAA;
  • Isaac Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Entertainment;
  • Steven Spielberg, co-founder of Dreamworks;
  • Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures;
  • William Fox, founder of Fox Film Corporation;
  • Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures;
  • Louis B. Mayer, founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer;
  • Sidney Sheinberg, executive of MCA;
  • Sam Warner, co-founder of Warner Brothers Studios;
  • Lew Wasserman, founder of MCA;
  • Harvey Weinstein, Co-founder of Miramax;
  • Bob Weinstein, Co-founder of Miramax;
  • Adolph Zukor, founder of Paramount Pictures;
  • Leonard Goldenson, president of ABC;
  • Les Moonves, CBS President;
  • William S. Paley, Founder and CEO of CBS;
  • David Sarnoff, founder of NBC, General Manager of RCA;
  • Laurence Tisch, CEO of CBS;
  • Jeff Zucker, NBC President;
  • Adolph Ochs, executive of New York Times;
  • Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., New York Times executive;
  • Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher of U.S. News and World Report and New York Daily News;
  • Katharine Graham of the Washington Post;
  • Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft;
  • Michael Dell, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Dell;
  • Lawrence Ellison, Founder of Oracle Corporation.

Jews are no different from anyone else with regards to being human beings and intelligence, yet:

  1. The percentage of Jewish households with income greater than US$50,000 is double that of non-Jews.
  2. The percentage of Jewish households with income less than US$20,000 is half that of non-Jews.
  3. The Jewish advantage in economic status is very high among households of similar age, composition and location.
  4. By the 1990s, Jews were hugely over-represented among the very wealthy, when they comprised more than a quarter of the people on the Forbes Magazine list of the richest four hundred Americans, 45% of the top 40 richest Americans, and one-third of all American multimillionaires
  5. 20% of professors at leading universities are Jewish.
  6. 40% of partners in the leading law firms in New York and Washington are Jewish!
  7. 30% of American Nobel prize winners in science and 25 percent of all American Nobel winners are Jewish. In the period 1901–1962 16% of Nobel prize-winners for science were Jewish.
  8. Jews constitute 2% of the USA population but are the source of over 40% of political funding. Therefore the Jewish political influence is through 3 activities – campaigning, voting and financial contributions.
  9. In many cases, Jews earned their American success in only one or two generations in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  10. Jews enjoy 75% of the $50 billion worth of foods sold in the United States each year.
  11. In 1890, there were few Jews practicing in law or medicine in New York City. By 1900, there were 400-600 Jewish doctors in the city and several thousand in teaching and other professions.
  12. In the 1930s, 55% of doctors, 64% of dentists, and 65% of lawyers in New York City were Jewish. This was in spite of quotas restricting the admittance of Jews to institutions of higher learning.
  13. They estimated the world population of Jews in 1938 at 18 million and the world population of European non-Jewish whites at 718 million, and calculated that Jews were over-represented by a factor of approximately 6.6.
  14. Jews have been about half of the world’s top rated chess grandmasters between 1851 and 2000 (Rubinstein, 2004) and of the champion American bridge players and theoreticians (Storfer, 1990).
  15. In the 20th century, Jews have been greatly over-represented in a number of countries among intellectual elites and in the higher socio-economic status occupations. In Austria in the years between the two World Wars Jews were approximately 3.5% of the  population but were 27.3% of university professors (Fraenkel, 1967). In Germany between 1918 and 1933, Jews were 0.78% of the population but were      16% of the doctors, 15% of the dentists, 25% of the lawyers, 50% of the theatre directors and occupied 80% of the leading positions in the Berlin Stock Exchange (Gordon, 1984; Slezkine, 2004). In Poland in 1931, Jews were 10.2% of the population but were 56% of the doctors in private practice, 33% of the lawyers, and 24% of the pharmacists (Slezkine, 2004). In Russia during the period 1917–1939 Jews were approximately 1.8% of the population, while Jews were 9% of the officers in military academies, 15%  of the university graduates, 11% of the doctors and 14% of the university professors (Slezkine, 2004).
  16. In Britain, the numbers of Jews  and non-Jewish whites possessing large wealth in the period from 1809– 1939 have been examined from probate returns on death by Rubinstein (2000). He has found 199 such individuals of whom 28 were Jews (14.1%).The average number of Jews in the population during this period was  approximately 0.4%, so Jews were 28.4 times over-represented among the      very wealthy. Prais and Schmool (1975) calculated that 10% of Jews and 4%  of non-Jewish whites were in the higher professions in 1961, and hence      Jews were over-represented by a factor of 2.5. In a later study, Tropp (1991) examined the numbers and proportions of Jews in eleven of the major professions around 1985. He found that the percentage of Jews ranged from 1.3% among chartered surveyors to 7.8 among opthalmic opticians. At this time there were approximately 322,000 Jews in the United Kingdom in the total population of 56,379,000 (the figure in the 1981 census). Thus, in 1985 Jews were approximately 0.6% of the population. Even among chartered surveyors Jews were over-represented by a factor of 2.2, while among opthalmic opticians Jews were over-represented by a factor of 13.0.
  17. As early as 1908 Jews began to outperform non-Jewish whites in the entrance tests for universities that were first constructed by the College Entrance Examination Board in 1899. Increasing numbers were gaining admission to the Ivy League colleges (eight private institutions of higher education often viewed by the public as some of the most prestigious universities worldwide and are often ranked amongst the best universities in the United States and worldwide comprising of Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University). In 1908 the percentages      of Jews in all colleges and at Harvard were 7% and 6%, respectively, and      by 1919 this had increased to 20% of the students at Harvard and about the      same figure at Yale, Brown and Pennsylvania, while at Columbia 40% of the students were Jewish (Slezkine, 2004).
  18. From 1957 through 1990 the  average annual earnings of Jewish men were about 130% of those of non-Jewish whites (in 1990 $36,700 for Jews and $28,080 for non-Jewish whites) (Chiswick, 1985; Kosmin & Lachman, 1993, p. 260).
  19. It has been found that Jews are  considerably over-represented among the eminent in the United States. Weyl(1966) calculated that Jews were over-represented by a factor of 4.48 in seven reference books of the eminent (e.g. Who’s Who in America, American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, etc.). In an  updated analysis of Who’s Who in America for the years 1994–5, McDermott  (2002) has calculated that Jews were over-represented by a factor of 16.62.
  20. According to a report by Will Maslow of the American Jewish Congress, “The percentage of Jews . . . who involve themselves in party affairs as policymakers and fund-raisers, is probably higher than that of any other racial, religious or ethnic group. The result is that Jews play a role in the political life of the country whose significance far transcends their proportion of the total population.”
  21. Jewish writer Lenni Brenner has noted the actual voting power of American Jews is nearly twice their numbers: “They vote in greater proportions than any other ethnic or religious grouping. Ninety-two percent of all Jews vote in national elections compared to only 54 percent of the people as a whole. Jews may only be 10.6 percent of New York State, but they are between 16 percent and 20 percent of the voters.”
  22. Up to 80% of eligible Jewish voters turned out to vote in the 2004 presidential election, compared to 50% of the electorate as a whole. In addition, registered Jews are twice as likely to vote. Combining the two multiplies Jewish voting power by a factor of three. Furthermore, 81 percent of Jews live in only nine states [New York, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania and Illinois] making them a significant political bloc, especially on the national level. In presidential elections, those nine states cast 202 of the 535 votes in the Electoral College. Thus, the Jewish population could provide a swing vote in any close presidential   election.

What is the source of all this Jewish economic success and wealth?

The Jewish Perspective on Wealth

Steven Silbiger, The Jewish Phenomenon: Seven Keys to the Enduring Wealth of a People (2009)

Dr. Sowell discovered, “Even when neither education nor age is a factor, Jews earn more.” Among families headed by males with four or more years of college and aged 35 to 45, Jews still earn 75% higher incomes than the national average with the same demographics. If it were as simple as just getting an education or developing verbal confidence, just two of the keys, Jewish success would have been emulated years ago.

One of Steven Silbiger’s more compelling theses holds that the outsider mentality common to most Jews, as a minority, not only shapes independent thinkers, it also motivates people to prove themselves and gain acceptance. Fundamentally, according to Silbiger, Jews are rebels with a cause – whether it’s Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity or Ruth Handler and her groundbreaking Barbie doll.

To support his point, Steven Silbiger quotes Sigmund Freud, who, in his “Self Portrait,” wrote that the anti-Semitism he encountered in medical school “produced one important result. At a rather early date, I became aware of my destiny: to belong to the critical minority as opposed to the unquestioning majority. A certain independence of judgment was therefore developed.”

Steven Silbiger contrasts the religious Jewish upbringing with the Christian religious upbringing, noting that in religious classes Jewish children are encouraged to ask questions. Christian children are given answers and are often discouraged from asking questions – often, to question is the near occasion of sin, an indication of lack of faith. This sets a vastly different foundation for the Jewish child versus the Christian child. Steven Silbiger theorizes that the Jewish child will carry this attitude of questioning on into the rest of his life, and this leads to a willingness to look at situations in new ways, to try new things, to be an entrepreneur. (Interestingly, Steven Silbiger claims that Jewish people, in defiance of the usual trend, typically become more liberal as their wealth increases.)

According to the New Testament, the Christian world has, at best, an ambivalent attitude toward money and wealth: “Easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24, Luke 18:25, Mark 10:25) “You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Luke 16:13) “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (Timothy 6:8-9) “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” – (Timothy 6:10).

For Jews, on the other hand, wealth is a good thing, a worthy and respectable goal to strive toward. What’s more, once you earn it, it is tragic to lose it. Judaism has never considered poverty a virtue. The first Jews were not poor. The Jewish founding fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were blessed with cattle and land in abundance. Asceticism and self-denial are not Jewish ideals. With your financial house in order, it is easier to pursue your spiritual life: “Where there is no flour, there is no Bible.” The Mishna (a collection of books that outline the detailed laws for daily Jewish living) “Poverty causes transgression.” (Hasidic folk saying) “Poverty in a man’s house is worse than fifty plagues.” (The Talmud, a collection of books of rabbinical commentary on the Old Testament).

A person with wealth, stands up. His wealth gives him a sense of confidence that allows him to act, a sense of self-worth that fills him with enthusiasm. He enjoys all that he is and all that he does. He feels important and this promotes his success. Thus his wealth is a key to prosperity – a key that opens the doors to his desires.

  • The ground under their feet (Devarim 11.6). This verse, taught R Elazar, refers to a person’s wealth – it      stands him on his feet. (Pesachim 119a)
  • Rav Shmuel bar Nachman said: When a man is  wealthy, he shows his friend a happy face. (Breishis Raba 91.5)
  • Greater is the merit of ones own labors, than the merit of the forefathers. (Tanchuma,      VaYeitzei 13)
  • Rebbi Chiya bar Abba said in the name of Ulla: Greater is one who enjoys the labor of his own hands, than one who regards Hashem with awe (Yiras Shamayim).
  • While he who regards Hashem with awe is fortunate in this world … he who toils, enjoys this world, and also delights in the goodness of the world-to-come. (Brochos 8a)
  • Better is the person who lacks honor, but has a servant, than the refined man who has no bread. (Mishle 12.9)
  • A beautiful home expands a person’s thoughts. (Brochos 57b) Beautiful garments enlarge a person’s thoughts. (R Elazar)
  • The rich man’s wealth is his fortress. (Mishle 10.15)
  • The rich man has many who love him. (Mishle 14.20)
  • Wealth adds many friends. (Mishle 19.4)
  • There is wealth to be had; there is money in the streets. However, a person needs to want this money, to look carefully for it, and gather it up. For the Heavens guide a person in the way he wishes to go (Makkos 10b).

True, there are hardships he must endure; he must learn to toil; he must train himself to wait, patiently. Still, if he wants it, it is there. The question is though, should he want wealth?

The very survival of a Torah life-style depends on a financial backing. To raise whole families, a nation who lives with true values, all requires successful economics. Thus every aspect of the Torah depends on wealth.

  • R Elazar ben Azarya would say: If there is  no flour, there can be no Torah. (Avos 3.21)
  • Food leads to laughter, wine adds joy to life, and money solves all problems. (Koheles 10.19)
  • With the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread.” (Breishis 3.19)
  • Rebbi Avahu taught: While the upper ones, the angels and other celestial beings, are nourished by the sheen of Hashem; lower beings, those who live in this world, must toil – if they don’t, they don’t eat! (Breishis Raba 2.2)
  • To the man who says, “I will eat, drink and enjoy all that’s good without toiling, for I trust that Heaven will take mercy on me,” the Rabbis say, you are wrong!” The verse expressly states that, “You [Hashem] bless the deeds of his hands.” (Iyov 1.10)
  • A person needs first to labor and work with his two hands, only then does Hashem send His blessing. (Tanchuma, VeYeitzei 13)
  • Wealth that comes without toil, diminishes; but he who gathers in gradually, constantly, increases his wealth. (Mishle 13.11)
  • Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Today is for doing, tomorrow is not for doing … Today is for doing, tomorrow is for receiving reward. (Eiruvim 22a)
  • Rava said: Invest a hundred zuz in business, and you eat meat and wine everyday; invest a hundred zuz in ground, and you eat salt and hay; moreover you sleep on the ground. (Yevamos 63a)
  • Rav Yitzchak said: A person should always have ready cash, [that when a bargain comes his way, he may buy it – Rashi]. (Baba Metzia 42a)
  • Rebbi Yehuda taught: Anyone who doesn’t teach his son a trade, teaches him to be a robber. (Kidushin 29a).

From the US survey known as the General Social Surveys (GSS) analysed for the years 1972–2004, cultural values of the respondents were measured by their responses to a question on the values parents would most like in their children. The survey gave 13 values and asks respondents to identify the one that they would most like their children to have, and also the three they would most like their children to have. These values are as follows:

  1. Success: ‘‘that he tries hard to succeed”;
  2. Studiousness: ‘‘that he is a good student”;
  3. Amicability: ‘‘that he gets along well with other children”;
  4. Cleanliness: ‘‘that he is neat and clean”;
  5. Considerateness: ‘‘that he is considerate of others”;
  6. Control: ‘‘that he has self-control”;
  7. Honesty: ‘‘that he is honest”;
  8. Interest: ‘‘that he is interested in how and why things happen”;
  9. Judgment: ‘‘that he has good sense and sound judgment”;
  10. Manners: ‘‘that he has good manners”;
  11. Obedience: ‘‘that he obeys his parents well”;
  12. Responsibility: ‘‘that he is responsible”
  13. Sex role: ‘‘that he acts like a boy (she acts like a girl)”.

Jews obtained a mean of 7.48, while non-Jewish whites obtained a mean of 6.21 and is equivalent to 9.06 IQ points. There were eight values in which Jews were significantly different from others. Jews attach less importance to cleanliness, honesty, manners and obedience, but they attach more importance to considerateness, interest in how and why things happen, judgment and responsibility.

Steven Silbiger claims that these principles can be learned by anyone, and thus his argument is that these traits are cultural and not genetic.


Seven Keys to Jewish Economic Success and Fabulous Wealth

By Steven Silbiger, The Jewish Phenomenon: Seven Keys to the Enduring Wealth of a People (2009)

  1. Understand That Real Wealth is Portable; It’s Knowledge – there has been research evidence showing that Jewish children have higher educational aspirations, do more homework      and watch less TV than non-Jews. Jewish families will highly support      intellectual pursuits and encourage their children to invest in schoolwork.      Jews attach a lot of importance to study and education and this socializes      the children for educational and academic success: ‘‘Jewish youth used to      spend long years bent over their books in an attempt to break out of the      narrow circle of restrictions” (Slezkine, 2004, p. 252). Jews ‘‘were      highly motivated to create a new and more secure life for themselves”      which gave them ‘‘the willingness to work hard” (Rutland, 1988, p. 259).      The idea is built on the paradigm that ‘getting an education requires the      ability to defer gratification for a bigger payoff later’.

2.      Take Care of Your Own and They Will Take Care      of You – to safeguard and enhance the health of      their community, Jews        zealously deploy their wealth for both charity and      social actions. They make money so hard, and they give so generously. In spite of the stereotype that they are miserly, Jews happen to be the most  philanthropic ethnic group in the country. Total Jewish philanthropic giving     totaled about $4.5 billion in 1997. Jewish Free Loan Societies help  immigrants and other Jews in need. Apparently there are about 40 of these      institutions around the country, and they make about $40 million in loans  each year, interest free!

  1. Successful People Are Professional and  Entrepreneurs – specialised people earn from their skills.
  2. Develop Your Verbal Confidence – assertiveness, a willingness to demand what  is due, defy tradition, just to be able to have the balls to dare to be      different. It is from the Hebrew word chutzpah (“gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts,’ presumption plus arrogance”).      Avoid self-pity, let your language prop you and feed your ears with  strength from your mouths.
  3. Be Selectively Extravagant but Prudently      Frugal – do not borrow not more than half what you  earn. Spend what you can make, make more than you need to spend. To be      rich, you need to save!
  4. Celebrate Individuality: Encourage Creativity – Jews resemble some Protestants in  possessing ‘‘individualistic,  competitive patterns of thought and action linked with the middle class and historically associated with the Protestant ethic or its secular      counterpart, the spirit of capitalism”.
  5. Have Something To Prove: A Drive To Succeed – the mind is the most potent of drivers. Feed your mind with the positive psychological drive to succeed. Again define success in a global sense, to another is success to a second person your success is failure. Look outwards, it helps to reach out to see other  strengths and role models. Then ‘tune’ your mind to conquer and deliberately design the success path!

THE MOTIVE FORCES TO JEWISH ECONOMIC SUCCESS AND FABULOUS WEALTH

By Steven Silbiger, The Jewish Phenomenon: Seven Keys to the Enduring Wealth of a People (2009)

KEY # 1 EDUCATIONAL

1. Build a child’s self-esteem.

2. Build the ability to defer gratification.

3. Choose the best education possible.

4. Develop and demonstrate informed and literate habits (“Jews celebrate and promote books and reading like no other segment of society, accounting for between 50 and 75% non-institutional book sales in the USA”).

5. Create the education expectation.

6. Keep skills up-to-date even as an adult.

7. Have an educational incentive.

8. Believe that real wealth is portable; it’s knowledge (“The Jewish priorities consists of education, money and then material things. Money is the source of power and to acquire it without education will create a household with many thing, but with little security to maintain and support itself”).

9. Believe in being prudently frugal.

KEY # 2 ECONOMIC

10.Have an economic incentive.

11. Wealth is a good thing and a worthy and respectable goal for which to strive (“Poverty causes transgression”).

12. Wealth is a tool for survival.

KEY # 3 ENTREPRENEURIAL

13. Have a strong, burning entrepreneurial spirit.

14. Believe financially successful people are professional and entrepreneurs.

15. Encourage Creativity (“Ignore killer phrases and senseless rules; challenge widely held assumptions; be a good copycat; keep current: know the trends; create an idea-friendly home”)

KEY # 4 EMPOWERMENT

16. Have the ability to create, organize and utilize economic strength.

17. Firmly believe in “take care of your own and they will take care of you”.

18. The idea of individual empowerment should be deeply rooted in society.

KEY # 5 ENDURANCE

19. Be psychologically driven to prove something: A Drive To Succeed (“Make long-range goals; work harder at tasks requiring mental manipulation; take prudent risks; work for tangible and intangible rewards; take personal responsibility for decisions and create results; accept other entrepreneurs as role models; believe in own self-determination”)

20. Develop Verbal Confidence and Boldness (“Encourage children to ask questions; proactively explain new ideas to children and encourage public speaking and confident conversation. As verbally confident people, Jews ask questions, seek second opinions and do their own research”)

KEY # 6 “ENJOY LIFE”

21. Celebrate Your Individuality (“Be a member of a critical minority than a questioning majority”)

22. Be Selectively Extravagant

Resources:

* The Jewish Phenomenon: Seven Keys to the Enduring Wealth of a People by Steven Silbiger (2000),

* How to explain high Jewish achievement: The role of intelligence and values by Richard Lynn and Satoshi Kanazawa (2007)

* The Jewish Secret of Wealth: According to the Torah, Talmud & Zohar by Avraham Tzvi Schwartz (2006);



*           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_American_businesspeople

Lindi Zulu Writes for Us: Money Matters

Lindi Zulu is a communications, business and psychology student, a poet, story-teller and worshiper who is passionate about empowering young people to live purposefully and instilling Godly character from a very real and honest Lindi perspective.

Absolutely Godgeous is about inner beauty making its way out.  Its about the everyday ups and downs of a 20 something year old Christian woman. It’s about random revelations, careers, trends and entertainment, relationships, about finding the humor in it all, getting helpful hints and answering life’s question marks with wisdom and grace.

http://lindiwezulu.wordpress.com/

Money Matters

So we’re in the last stretch of 2011 and the bottom line is that the majority of the human population spent most of this year trying to earn a living and maybe squeezed in some time with family and friends here and there, but mostly we were trying to improve our financial situation in some way or the other. Be it through education, our jobs, businesses, whatever.

The logic behind the whole rat race system is that everything costs money and we get that money by working for it. The harder you work or the more hours you put in, the more money you make. If we excel at what we do, we get promoted, gain an impressive title and earn respect by being someone important.

It sounds simple enough, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people think that’s what its all about and that if they start earning truckloads of money all their problems will be solved; when hardly a week goes by without us reading about rich celebrities getting a divorce, getting admitted into rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, while we’re trying to look like them, they’re getting surgery because they have issues with every part of their body, seeing a shrink on the regular or getting caught up in some criminal case.

The truth is, despite all their money, many rich people feel empty. After catching all the riches they’ve been chasing all their lives, they start running around desperately searching for meaning. Some surround themselves with a dozen hangers-on who follow them everywhere so they’re never left alone to deal with themselves. Others get pulled in by New Age beliefs and religious cults searching in vain for something that will make sense of their lives.

Way before I had even caught wind of the “prosperity gospel” all I had grown up knowing was that money is the root of all evil and you cannot serve God and mammon (money). Things really got interesting when I discovered that “money is the root of all evil” is a line from a song by Joan Whitney and Alex Kramer, recorded by the Andrews Sisters in 1946, but it is NOT a line from the bible, as so many people seem to think.

The bible quotation that is found in the book of 1 Timothy 6:10 says “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. Its not the money you have to keep in check, its your own lust for it.

“You cannot serve God and mammon (money)”is indeed a quotation from the bible though in Matthew 6:24 and in order to understand what Jesus meant in this verse, we need to understand what it means to serve God and what it means to serve mammon.

The business of serving mammon is putting the pursuit of money first in your life, and by serving God, we put God first in our lives. What this verse means then is that you cannot/ it is impossible to serve God whilst you are putting the pursuit of money first in your life.

As a Christian, you should never separate God from your source of provision, because it gives your job an eternal context- a purpose other than to pay the bills.

If you make your employer a billion dollars by having to go against everything you stand for in the process, then you have just joined the not so exclusive club of financially successful people in the world who have just declared spiritual bankruptcy.

Gaining all the riches of the world and losing your soul is never worth it. He wants you to prosper as your soul prospers. To prosper from the inside out.

So yes, I’m definitely planning on having an Absolutely Godgeous career and prosper and rule and reign with the dominion He has given me as co-heir with His son, but I’d rather maintain a better relationship with Him than with my accountant any day.

What about you?

Featured Guest Artist: Tha DQC

Tha DQC (real name Clarence Kasinganeti), short for ‘Tha Desiring and Questing for Christ’ is a Zimbabwean Christian beatmaker and rapper/songwriter currently residing in London, UK. Being of African origin, but having been exposed to western music all his life, has contributed to developing an ear for a musical blend that incorporates different types of music. He uses music in his quest to share the message of the kingdom of God.

As expressed in his name, the greatest desire he has is to instil a desire and purpose to have a closer walk with God in himself and the listeners in spite of the hardships, tribulations and mishaps that life throws at people. Whilst music has always been a joy to the man now known as Tha DQC, it was really not until he was born again that he really decided to take the issue seriously.

Currently Tha DQC has recently just finished his first ever mixtape and is preparing to hit the studio to work on an album entatively titled ‘Ultimate Desire-Christ Himself’. Other current projects on the horizon are the launching of the ‘Bezalel Initiative’ which is aimed at encouraging the artistic people to explore their creativity in glorifying God, the Kingdom Beneficiary Movement which is aimed to be a collection of many other elements that Tha DQC is passionate about.

Apart from making beats and writing rhyhmes, Tha DQC is an ordinary man who is hoping to break into the minds of the masses and itching to reason with the people in the business about the point of life and the goal of life who is Christ Himself. Selah pause and think about that!!!

Check out my music videos here:

http://www.dq4christ.com/page6/index.html