Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Five Forms Of Capital

God has invested in us, and he expects a return on his investment. Which begs the questions:
in what ways has God invested in us?
how do we put that investment to work in such a way as to earn a return for him on his investment?

There are, essentially, five types of capital; and if we want to grow any one of them, we do so by investing the others.

Spiritual capital
Jesus spoke of storing up treasures in heaven, and of faith that is intended to grow as it is applied. The Bible is full of examples of spiritual gifts God invests in his children, to be exercised to his glory.

Relational capital
Jesus invested in relationships: with the 12; with Peter, James and John; with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He knew that he could not complete the mission he had been sent to fulfil on his own.
Note: the rise of social networking – seen by some as enhancing, by others as detrimental to, relational capital – raises both opportunity for and threat to this form of capital.

Physical capital
God has given us a physical body, to be responsible for. As a general rule, our physical capital decreases with old age, but we can invest in the physical capital God has given us. Rising obesity, rising early liver damage as a result of binge drinking, and an epidemic of Chlamydia all indicate that we have a generation of young adults in our society that do not know how to invest wisely in the physical capital God has given them.

Intellectual capital
God has given us a mind, and commanded us to love him with all our mind (as well as all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength). This does not mean that we are all academically gifted; but we have the capacity to grow in our understanding of the things of God. The psalmist writes of meditating on God’s word day and night; while the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are full of enquiry into the workings of the world, human and animal, in order to learn from God.
Note: in our age of information technology economy, intellectual capital has become increasingly important. But note also the difference between in/access to information, and the ability to interpret information wisely.

Financial capital
This is the one that most people appear to consider most important. Straw polls indicate that the number one ambition of young adults today is to be rich, closely followed by to be a celebrity. This is aggravated by the hope of instant riches held out by the Lottery, and a media obsession with people who are famous not for any talent or achievement but simply famous for being famous...But financial capital, according to Jesus, is not there to be reinvested in its own sake.

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