Beware of Economic Exploitation

Buying merchandise is not a sin, and selling merchandise isn’t either. But beware of economic exploitation. Economic exploitation occurs when buying and selling somehow dominates your life. This bondage can happen to sellers and buyers alike.

Economic exploitation occurs when buying and selling somehow dominates your life.

Economic exploitation is a serious problem. It is a massive, worldwide phenomenon, a well-oiled machine. It is a system that has ensnared people from ancient times and will continue to do so until the end of this age. Then, in a moment, Jesus Christ will appear on the earth in person to destroy this massive system all at once (Rev. 18:10).

What does this system look like? Revelation 18:11-13 offers a glimpse:

“And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.” (NKJV)

John, the apostle, wrote these words in the first century AD, and we are still buying and selling these things today, and more. And no time of year reveals this fact more clearly than the month of December, when buying and selling accelerates at a record pace. Retail profits rise and consumer debt soars. And why is this a problem? After all, isn’t an active economy a good thing?

The many tentacles of the economic system (trade deals, marketing, interest rates, credit, sales tactics, manufacturing and more) resemble another worldwide phenomenon – false religion. This system also features many tentacles (Roman Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, socialism, Mormonism, ancestor worship, Jehovah’s Witnessism and more). Both systems enslave the hearts of people, dominating their lives and pulling them away from a personal relationship with the God of the Bible, the salvation of Jesus Christ and wholehearted, loving, loyal obedience to all that he commands.

The many tentacles of the economic system resemble another worldwide phenomenon – false religion.

How does the economic system of consumerism do this? In a plethora of ways. I will only name a few.

  1. It promises to satisfy the emptiness within us that only the God of the Bible can fill.
  2. It persuades us that we need many things which are, in fact, fleeting luxuries and nothing more.
  3. It diverts our God-given resources, such as energy, money and time, away from eternal pursuits.
  4. It multiplies indebtedness and slavery to masters other than God.
  5. It divides precious relationships given to us by God, especially our families.
  6. It disables us from obeying the commands of Christ.
  7. It prevents us from participating with our church in more significant pursuits.

What appears to be harmless at first, namely buying and selling apparel, jewelry, spices, automobiles and so forth, leads to more ominous trade, namely trafficking the bodies and souls of people. And that, my friends, is a very horrible thing. This is not merely an ancient practice. It is happening today.

What appears to be harmless at first, namely buying and selling apparel, jewelry, spices, automobiles and so forth, leads to more ominous trade

Is it a sin to manufacture or sell merchandise and offer helpful services for hire? No. And is it a sin to buy things that are more than a need? No again. But when this thing of buying and selling wraps its tentacles around your heart, causing any of the seven effects mentioned above, then take a good hard look at the life you are living. Are you experiencing the freedom of living in God’s kingdom for everlasting purposes? Or are you being sucked in to the deadly black hole of Babylon the Great? Be sober. Be vigilant. Beware of economic exploitation.

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