Why is it that right now 80 million Germans are financing the siestas, supermarkets, railways and retirements of 120 million Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, and Italians? Germany is by far the largest contributor to the budget of the European Economic Community. In 2010, Germany exported double the total of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy all put together. Germany’s BMW sold $86 billion of cars last year while Italy’s Fiat wasn’t able to achieve 40% of its already anemic sales targets. Greece doesn’t even manufacture bicycles, let alone cars.
One important explanation is that the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century was largely centered in Germany and bequeathed to its host country the idea of the religious work ethic. Germany has never forgotten it.
Germans know how the financial realities of the world really work. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also got it. In 1981 she said, “My policies are based not on some economic theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, live within your means, put by a nest egg for a rainy day, pay your bills on time…”
In other words, when Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, and Portuguese start working more than 30 hours a week; when they start spending less than they earn; and when they start working beyond the age of 50, they too will be able to live like Germans.
In The Jews and Modern Capitalism, German economist Werner Sombart argued that the religion of a people influences its economic life. Establishing the connection between Puritanism and Capitalism he wondered whether characteristics ascribed to Puritanism, “might not with equal justice be referred to Judaism, and probably in a greater degree; nay, it might well be suggested that that which is called Puritanism is in reality Judaism.”
What is true for nations is just as true for each of us. There are unchangeable realities about life and the more we endure the turbulence that swirls around the foundations of our lives, the more we need to depend on those things that never change. In building our businesses and our financial lifeboats, we need to know those timeless truths, understand them, and follow them.
Just before his passing, Moses blessed each of the twelve tribes separately in Deuteronomy chapter 33. Two of the tribes, however, were lumped together in the same verse:
To Zevulun he said, ‘Rejoice in your bursting beyond limits,
and [you] Yissachar, [rejoice] in your tents.’
Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that Zevulun represents commercial enterprise and wealth creation. Almost every act of entrepreneurial creativity demands “bursting beyond limits.” Perhaps a new product or a new way of delivering a service—thinking outside the box is essential for building a business. Yissachar, however, represents the timeless truths that anchor us to reality.
And of the sons of Yissachar, knowers of wisdom for all time…
(1 Chronicles 12:32)
Out of all the tribes blessed by Moses, only Zevulun and Yissachar are linked by a joint blessing. This teaches that their talents must be linked for both to succeed. If you wish to succeed with money like Zevulun, you must exit your comfort zone and escape stifling restraints while simultaneously absorbing God’s permanent principles by which the world operates. Likewise, if you wish to become wise like Yissachar, you must increase your understanding of God and His words, while simultaneously comprehending financial realities and the relationship between money and people. Individually and separately they fail, but as a team, Zevulun and Yissachar are powerful and unstoppable.
This is what I mean when I constantly recite my slogan, “The more that things change, the more we need to depend upon those things that never change.”
Ancient Jewish wisdom’s teachings on increasing revenue and making more money enjoy the unique advantage of incorporating the attributes of both Zevulun and Yissachar. The sale on our Income Abundance Set is ending this week and I ask you to take this opportunity to prepare for a 2012 in which you prosper financially as well as spiritually.
We cherish you, our subscribers, and wish you each a happy and fulfilling Chanukah or a joyful and uplifting Christmas.