PROFIT - The Mark of the Beast in Revelation as a Prototype for Divestment and Boycotting

Women holding pictures of the family members they lost in the Rana Plaza tragedy with the word profit written on it.

*updated for 2017*

We recently passed the 4th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, where over 1000 garment workers lost their lives in a tragic, yet entirely avoidable way.

The Mark of the Beast

In the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, John tells us about a mark, put on the head or hand of all people that trade in the marketplace (Revelation 13:16-17). 

He called this mark ‘the mark of the beast’ and urged believers to stop trading in the market. For those living in that time, this was a big deal.

One possible interpretation (mentioned in some documents) is that in some localities, before trading in the market, you had to burn incense to an effigy of Caesar as an act of worship

You then received a mark on either your hand or forehead to show that you had done this. John was writing to say that this practice was not acceptable. Essentially he was calling for one of the first recorded boycotts In history.

Profits Before People

The reason that Rana Plaza happened, was because corporations put profit before people.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, the primary responsibility of a corporation is to generate profit for its shareholders (the bottom line). Everything a company does must feed into this.

Each initiative must have a return on investment (even charity events lead to increased public relations, a better public perception, leading to increased sales. Hence why a company must always put their name all over it, so people know it was them).

Therefore it stands to reason that the only true way that we bring about change, to put people before profit, is to affect the profits of the company. 

As long as we keep buying, they won’t care about our letters or petitions (these things are still important, but must be seen within the context of the bottom line).

The Prophets of Israel

Jeremiah the prophet
The prophets of Israel did things that spoke of a far deeper reality than the actions themselves. Their actions pulled back the curtains of reality; of our perceptions, and showed reality laid bare.

Simple actions to do with baking bread (Ezekial 4:9-17) and buying clay jars (Jeremiah 19:1-15) revealed the fates of nations.

We have to be prophetic with our money, we have to use it to create the world that we want to see.

It is not that business is evil, or the people that are running them are evil (working for a corporation gives us a different set of influencing skills to bring about change, for this blog post I am concentrating on our role as consumers), we need to be realistic in our expectation of how they work.

Conclusion

In our world of mass information we have access to all the documents and evidence that we need to tell us what companies are doing. We can access supply chain policies, environmental targets and any articles on companies to help us make informed decisions.

May we use our money to create the world that we want to live in. May we take more of an interest in where our products come from. And may we use our bargaining power as consumers to make a difference.

If you want to find products that make a difference, I highly encourage you to check out www.ethicalconsumer.org as a start.

For a list of all active boycotts against companies check out this list: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/boycottslist.aspx

For a great book on ethical living I highly recommend Ruth Valerio's book 'L is for Lifestyle'*

What other ways do you think we can focus on being prophets rather than focusing on profits? let me know in the comments below.
Make Your Church An Eco-Church. Download Your Free Guide Today. Click Here.
* Please note that this is an affiliate link.

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