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Wealth trustees and advisers

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying … … When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.      [Mathew’s biography of Jesus Christ 1: 18-24 written c. AD 60]


Jersey’s Royal Court is hearing evidence about possible criminal offences in connection with an investment scheme. A good number of Jersey folk placed their wealth in the hands of advisers who would hold it and provide good returns. Amongst those so entrusted with the wealth of others was a man who acted as a judge in Jersey’s Magistrate’s Court.


The case is undecided. Proceedings in another court case – this time a civil matter and not a criminal one – are also at an advanced stage. In this case, again, wealth has been lost and those Jersey folk who have lost it are seeking to recover it.


Such cases raise an important question, “To whom should one entrust one’s wealth?”


In that connection, therefore, consider the parallel of the man Joseph in the extract in bold above. Joseph was to be entrusted by Almighty God with his only son made man. What kind of man could be trusted with such precious wealth?


Marriage in that particular area of the Roman Empire at that time was different from marriage in Jersey today in one important respect. The legal and religious contract of marriage was entered into upon “engagement”. As soon as that contract was entered into the couple were “one flesh” and had become “man-and-wife”. Consummation would follow at a later date.


No doubt then, as now, young people would still be active irrespective of legalities and “religious scruples”. Not Joseph.


When his legal wife became pregnant “before they came together”, he was a “just man and unwilling to put her to shame”. Not for him the taking of revenge. Not for him the delight of shaming his young lady publicly. He would instead “divorce her quietly”.


There is something very self-effacing in this man. That something is rarely found in investment advisers. They are usually quite sure that they can beat the markets, sure that they know better that every other investment expert. Often they make known the faults and failures of all others whenever possible. That’s why folk entrust their wealth to them.


Also, note how teachable Joseph is. He “considered these things“and he was receptive to the angel of the Lord who “appeared to him in a dream“. Not for Joseph the arrogance of knowing-that-he-knows…..


In addition, see how immediate was his response to God’s instruction. When he “woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him”. As simple and as effective as that. When some time later, he was warned in another dream to take to Egypt the young child who had been born to Mary he again responded immediately.


Joseph could be trusted to do God’s will, to take immediate action. That’s why he was entrusted with Jesus.


But why was a young carpenter chosen rather than a young professional? Joseph wasn’t impressive in the assertiveness stakes; he couldn’t even get a room in a hotel for his wife-in-labour. Maybe not – but he didn’t leave his pregnant-but-not-by-him wife in favour of another who would do him more good, give him greater personal fulfillment, greater happiness or greater wealth.


Joseph was entrusted with Jesus. But now for the biggest question of them all.


To whom, to what kind of person does God entrust His Son today?

 ‘There is no guarantee that men faithful to God will be recognisable by their numbers, their talent or their success.’ (Iain H Murray, Minister and Writer)
‘Christians do not have to live; they have only to be faithful to Jesus Christ, not only until death but also unto death if necessary.’ (Vance Havner, Writer and Pastor, 1901-1986)
Richard Syvret

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