Counting your Profits and Losses: Philippians 3:1-11

Can you imagine earning £3 million a day? Can you imagine spending £3 million a day? For every day of every week of every year of your entire life? Then you are beginning to comprehend how much money Bernard Madoff confessed to defrauding his clients of Friday. He faces a possible 150 year jail sentence for defrauding people of a cool $65 billion dollars. But that amount pales by comparison with what the British government is planning to do legally over the next three months.

The Bank of England has just announced unprecedented steps to prevent the deepest slump since the 1930s. Described as “Quantitative Easing” policy makers cut the key interest rate to 0.5 percent last week, the lowest since the bank was founded in 1694. The Economist described this policy of “Quantitative Easing” with something of an understatement as advancing “to the frontier of orthodox monetary policy.” But more dramatically, this week, the Bank of England published plans to print £75 billion pounds. Something the Economist described as “having already crossed a frontier…”

Newsweek Magazine, noting that some banks made a profit the last two months and that their shares are rising, has confounded the pessimists by predicting we are actually entering a bull market.  Their headline shouts “Buy”. So should we sell or buy? Should we sit tight or take risks? What lessons do we learn from the week? Jesus once asked a question which may shed light on all this.

“What good is it for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul?” (Mark 8:36).

What good is it for you to defraud $65 billion dollars and forfeit your freedom? What good is it for a nation to print £75 billion pounds and continue in the life style that led to the crisis? Despite the front cover of Newsweek suggesting we are entering a bull market instead of  a bear market, I’d like to suggest a third option – a Biblical market – for God has spoken more about wealth than just about any other subject in the Bible. My advice is sell, sell, sell and invest in the Church. We give a far better rate of return and for a far longer period. Jesus says:

“I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

That’s what I call a pretty good rate of return. In our passage from Philippians this morning Paul encourages us to think about our profit and loss account.

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8)

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