Friday, August 29, 2014

Unrighteous Wealth (12) Land

God hates the accumulation of large tracts of land and wants it evenly distributed. He created the earth for all humans and wants every person to own a bit of it, so they have the capacity to feed themselves. When Israel entered the land, he told Moses to divide it equally between all people. That means that large landholdings are unrighteous wealth.

The accumulation of houses is unrighteous wealth. The prophets spoke against those who accumulated land and houses.

Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land (Is 5:8).
When Jesus challenged a ruler enquired about eternal life, the man claimed to have kept all the commandments since he was a boy (Luke 18:21). Jesus explained that he was wrong. He had honoured the Ten Commandments, but he had ignored God’s instructions for economic life. He was not entitled to accumulate land. To be righteous, he needed to sell his land and give it away. This would fulfil the land laws of Leviticus 25.
Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Luke 18:23).
Luke records that the man became sad, because “he was very wealthy”. They only to become wealthy in Jesus time, was through collusion with the Romans, so his was unrighteous wealth.

In the modern world, residential housing is a popular investment. This demand pushes up the price of dwellings, which makes it difficult for young people to buy a house. Investment in housing is unproductive. It does not increase the productivity of the economy. People who are saving for their retirement should invest in productivity activities not residential dwellings.

If people who own more than one house or residential lot were to sell them, the price of houses would fall dramatically. Young people would find houses easier to afford.

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