Why did Jesus teach his disciples to be “Bankers”?
Simple Biblical Principles ANYONE can use to achieve Superior Financial Results
I must preface that the word “bank,” as we know today, was not part of ancient Israel’s vocabulary, but the concept of banking has always been in place. A Bank, or Banking, was a table, bench, or counter on which ancient moneychangers and lenders (bankers) carried out their business.
Jesus actually interacted with them and other merchants when he drove them out of the temple (Mark 11:15–17). He did not, however, seem to be against “banking”, unless it was hindering the authentic worship of God.
In other passages though, Jesus seemed to teach another concept that is somewhat foreign to us today. The concept in which I am referring also seems to exist throughout the Old Testament. It was specifically introduced by God himself when He gave Israel the Law at Mount Sinai (this will be discussed in other articles to come).
Throughout the Bible, there seems to be a financial concept for who the ideal people are to establish and control the “banking function” within a society.
Let’s take a detailed look at a Parable from Jesus:
The Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11–27)
11 Now while they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.
Right away we know the context of Jesus’s parable: Jesus was teaching, and people were following him to learn about the kingdom of heaven. The people thought heaven was going to “appear immediately”. So, to address the people, Jesus told them a story explaining that the eternal kingdom is NOT here yet, and to teach them what they should do until it is. What’s amazing to me is that Jesus uses a financial analogy to make his point. The principles he lays out could be an important key to achieving simple and superior financial returns for us today.
12 So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then to return.
Here Jesus teaches about himself in that he will soon go to “receive a kingdom for himself, and then…return” referring to his death, resurrection, and his eventual 2nd coming.
We must understand that Christ WILL Return.
13 And he called ten of his own servants and gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this money until I come back.’
Interesting. Our master is the source of our blessings, and he wants us to create value with HIS blessings while he is away. Blessings are everything we have. All of our time, talents, and treasures. The air we breath to the wealth we accumulate. All our relationships and opportunities.
EVERYONE has been Blessed in some capacity.
14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’
Unfortunately, everyone wants the gifts of God, but not everyone wants to serve Him with their gifts. In fact, some intentionally rebel.
There are great opportunities for those who do serve Him though.
15 When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these servants, to whom he had given the money, be summoned to him so that he would learn how much they had made by the business they had done.
When Christ returns, there will be an Accounting for our management of God’s resources.
16 The first servant appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’ 18 The second one came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’
The accounting of God’s true servants though, are not to determine their punishment for not earning enough, but to determine their greater eternal rewards. INCREDIBLE!!!
So, God desires His servants to multiply His resources while He is away, which is profitable for us today. Also, our multiplication of His resources today, produce exponentially greater rewards in the eternal kingdom.
Also, the master did not care what each servants investment returns were. He just wanted them to do something, anything, productive. He was ready to reward them no matter what the outcome was. Although, the rewards were proportionate to the investment returns.
20 And then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept tucked away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘From your own lips I will judge you, you worthless servant. Did you know that I am a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow?
There are some who have been blessed by God, claiming to be servants of God, but they do not obey God. This servant claims FEAR led him to hide and hoard the master’s blessings, rendering the blessing, and the servant, worthless to the master.
FEAR destroys even the potential for Wealth.
The servant even acknowledged that the master does not invest directly himself, but gives to his ‘stewards’ to invest on his behalf, and that the master has clear expectations. They have a mutual partnership. By the stewardship of the servant, both of them can either profit, or not. This servant knew exactly what he needed to do, but he refused to do it.
Though the master was disappointed in the 3rd servants lack of obedience, the master acknowledged that the servant had other options:
23 And so why did you not put my money in the bank, and when I came back, I would have collected it with interest?’
Interesting suggestion! If the servant did not want to manage his own blessings, he should lend it to someone else who will put it to work.
I take this as, “The LEAST you can do is give it to the bankers to earn interest.”
Then, when the master returned, the servant could get it back from the banker, with the interest, and present it back to the master.
We give our money to the “bankers” any time we hand over control of our resources to someone else to manage on our behalf. It includes any bank products, as well as, portfolio management services (Assets Under [their] Management). They will “invest” OUR funds the way they see fit and share a portion of the profits with us.
WAIT A MINUTE!
Really stop and ponder this for a moment.
Wouldn’t the “bankers” in the parable have done exactly what Servants #1 & #2 did, invested/lent the funds within the community for a financial return?
Interestingly, the Greek verb for “do business” in verse 13 above, is the word pragmateuomai, meaning 1) to be occupied in anything; 2) to carry on a business; 3) to carry on the business of a banker or a trader.
It seems Jesus is teaching that it’s OK if we want to abdicate our responsibility to someone else, to manage on our behalf. HOWEVER, God has given the management opportunity and responsibility to us, no one else, FIRST AND FORMOST. Secondly, the potential results are ENORMOUSLY greater if we retain our responsibilities to manage the resources ourselves.
Though God is an equal opportunity gift giver, He may not, however, give equal blessings. The Apostle Matthew records a slight variation to this parable that reveals an important lesson:
To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. The one who had received the five talents immediately went and did business with them, and earned five more talents. — Matthew 25:15–16
God does not expect us to do something that we are unqualified or unable to do. According to our own abilities, he prefers that we maintain control over our gifts to multiply them as WE are able. He knows what we are capable of, but he allows us the discretion over our gifts to utilize them how we think we are able. God is so patient and gracious with us.
24 And then he said to the other servants who were present, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Master, he already has ten minas.’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.
Again Jesus reveals his desire for his servants to be wise stewards and multiply their blessings according to their own abilities. Furthermore, he acknowledges that this process will expand our abilities and attract more blessings to manage, NOW and in the future kingdom.
WARNING: Jesus also clearly taught the dangers of accumulating wealth for self-gratification rather than serving God (Luke 12:16–21). He also teaches us how we should serve God by “make friends for [ourselves] by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive [us] into the eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9)
Relationships are the investment return God desires, not material possessions. By increasing our wealth and abilities, we can maximize our capacity to impact others for Christ and “make friends” for heaven.
There are 3 basic financial strategies Jesus teaches that ANY of his servants have the option to utilize:
- Do nothing (NOT A GOOD OPTION).
- Loan it to someone else that will do something with it for a piece of the profit.
- Maintain control of OUR blessings to invest ourselves for SUBSTANTIALLY great return potential.
So, if we could design a solution that would give us the ability to manage our personal finances the way Jesus prefers in this parable…
What would that look like?
When God gives us financial blessings, whether its from the generosity of others, our own productivity, or investment returns, all income needs a place to go.
Let’s call this our “Warehouse of Wealth”.
The hypothetical Abilities of our “warehouse” from Jesus’s parable:
- Able to accept ALL income, or however much we want.
- Completely accessible anytime we want the funds.
- We need to have 100% control over the funds to use how we see fit.
- Expandable as our personal abilities grow.
- Funds we are not using ourselves could be managed by “bankers” to at LEAST earn some interest until we want to use them.
Other Features we may want today:
- No Market Risk/Low Volatility
- Protection from Creditor
- Privately Owned Contract
- Hundreds of Years of Historical Success
- Tax Free/Tax Efficient Growth, Distributions, & Transfer to heirs
Is there such a product?
This is the exact capabilities of properly structures dividend-paying whole life insurance from a mutual company.
I AM NOT saying that God, Jesus, or the Bible promotes any particular product. I AM however, pointing out the concept the seems to stand out within God’s word. It just so happens that whole life insurance is the only product today that can be utilized in this capacity.
R. Nelson Nash taught this simple and powerful concept for many decades prior to his passing in 2019. Excerpts from his book ‘Becoming Your Own Banker’ explain this concept that he coined the Infinite Banking Concept:
“Banking is the most important and most profitable business in the world, and it should be controlled by you and me…Economic problems are best solved by people freely contracting with one another and with government limited to the function of enforcing those contracts. The absolute best way to do so is through the magnificent idea of dividend-paying whole life insurance. It has more in common with banking than it does with life insurance. A better name would have been a ‘banking system with a death benefit thrown in for good measure.’ It has been around for over 200 years and stood the test of time. It is not compulsory. It is not a government sponsored idea. It preceded the income tax idea by a long time. It is Private Property! Also, the only people who participate in this idea are people who truly care about other people. What a great group of people to be engaged in business with.”
Which servant do we want to be?
Servant #1: 1 mina x 10 minas = 1,000% return
Servant #2: 1 mina x 5 minas = 500% return
Hypothetical Servant: Bank Interest
Servant #3: Living in fear and doing NOTHING
Which servant does God want us to be?
The simplest and most efficient way for ANYONE to be servant #1 or #2, is to own and control the banking function for themselves, like they did.
Most of us already are or have been one, or both, of the other servants. In my experience, it isn’t as good as I was originally told it would be.
Reading Mr. Nash’s book ‘Becoming Your Own Banker’ and his second book ‘Building Your Warehouse of Wealth’ was the beginning of my financial transformation. This is where others should start as well.
Isaiah 55:8 — For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.