…walk into a bar. “What’ll you have?” the bartender asks.
“Ten of your best spirits,” the priest says.
“Spirits? You must like it strong. Aren’t you fellas teetotalers?” the bartender asks.
“No, just me,” the pastor says.
“Five apiece for the two of you? Coming right up. No, you can pay after. I trust you.” The bartender tries to refuse the rabbi’s money.
“No, we really must be going. Is this enough?” the rabbi says.
The bartender looks at both crisp Benjamin Franklins with surprise. “Yes, this is fine.”
“Great. Thank you for your business,” the priest says. The pastor, the priest, and the rabbi proceed to round up ten of his customers and herd them out.
“What are you doing?” Now the bartender is very surprised.
“Ten spirits.” The pastor, the priest, and the rabbi walk out of the bar. “You don’t expect us to leave their bodies behind, do you?”
In Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money, the author, one Rabbi Daniel Lapin, makes a point that “spirits” referring to alcohol has a spiritual connotation in the very etymology of the word. Spiritual, meaning pertaining to the human spirit, not necessarily “religious.”
So I thought, compare it against “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.” After quoting this slogan, 1 Corinthians 6:13 goes on to say that both will be destroyed. If viewing the gastronomic process on a merely materialistic level is discouraged, why not consider the spiritual implications of mind-altering alcohol?
This is just one of many observations, analyses, and other remarks that Rabbi Lapin makes throughout his book that has initiated further thought of my own. Even on subjects I previously thought uninteresting, already understood, or commonplace. Many struck a chord within me, echoing what I’ve heard elsewhere before. It is a blend of business practice and philosophy that I look forward to re-reading in the future.
But for now, to one practical application. His opening chapter, and first commandment, says “believe in the dignity and morality of business,” and he proceeds to strongly support that statement. Did you know the 8th thing labelled “good” by God in the Bible is gold?
I thought I agreed with this. I have long held, theologically, that there is no divide between the sacred and the secular, that the Christian God is a holistic reference point that holds all things in his purview. I have long strived, personally, to develop skills in the marketplace as a response to a sense of his calling on my life.
When I read his exposé of modern culture, the war of the haves and the havenots, and his analysis into what that means, I wonder how much I’ve really grasped of this. Am I morally comfortable with business? Not in its abuse, but in its practice?
Now that Two Queens sits on the shelves of the world’s largest retailer, the game has escalated. I still believe the same. I just realized how acclimated I’ve become to a world that downplays the honor of business.
Why is this important? Because we are spiritual beings. And telling us to spend the vast majority of our waking, productive lives merely trading time for tainted money is a study in contradictions. Either the system is wrong… or we need to re-evaluate the paradigm.
How does this relate to the oft-quoted “the love of money is the root of all evil“?