God’s Standard in the Fair Market
Posted in Work by Benham Brothers | November 10th, 2014
“If he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man.” Ezekiel 18:8b
As a business owner for over a decade, I’ve seen up front and personal the value of God’s standards in the fair market. I’ve defined the fair market as what I can buy or sell with a “clean conscience” before the Lord with an eye to honor God. This approach has been a game-changer for us because it means that as a buyer I won’t buy so incredibly cheap that it’s not fair to the seller, and as a seller I won’t charge prices that aren’t fair to the buyer. In God’s economy He is concerned with “true justice” in the marketplace.
Today, the working definition for the fair market is whatever the market will yield (what a buyer is willing to pay and what a seller is willing to sell for). It has removed God as the absolute standard and has absolutized itself. In other words, the “market” now determines market value. But when you bring God into the mix – the One to whom we will account for all our actions – we can’t just buy or sell at market value alone. Rather, we must buy or sell at a value that both honors God and does not violate our conscience.
For me, as a buyer of real estate, this means that if a little old lady desperately needs to sell her house, I won’t take advantage of her situation just because I can. Although the market allows me to do this, God does not. I have to first inform her of all her options and honor God by putting her needs before my own. By doing this I’ve cleared my conscience and honored God, and if she chooses to still sell to me, then I’m free to purchase.
As a seller, this means if there’s a shortage of supply I should not hike my prices up to an exorbitant amount. We all understand ebbs/flows in price based on inflation, etc. But we should never gouge buyers because the “market” allows us. We must remember that God is the determiner of the market – and it’s based on “true justice” (what is right). This is a very fine line to walk, and it requires our consciences to have a keen ear to God’s voice.
When you remove God from anything then something has to fill the void, because nothing happens in a vacuum. In the market today we must not let the market determine what’s “fair,” we must let God do that. This establishes a plumb line – or an absolute standard – by which individuals can interact with total freedom and liberty in the marketplace. Without a plumb line it encourages greed in both buyers and sellers, and when greed spins out of control then guess who comes in to fix it? The government!
The Biblical church needs to model this in America today and BE the church in the market. This will glorify God and bring incredible numbers of people to Him when they witness true justice in the marketplace!
Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net