Importance of Individual Resource Management

Poverty is bad resource management

This study is about the importance of individual resource management.
Collective resource management, as in a corporate office, is not discussed here.
Every individual has resources sufficient for reaching the summit of success.
It is our choice to manage the resources well and succeed or neglect and fail.

For illustrating my argument I am using reference from history as cited in the Bible, a parable of Jesus and the famous quote about the gazelle and the lion.

No crown is for ever
Proverbs 27. 23, 24
23  Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;
24  for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. (NIV)

Transfer of wealth
Wealth is created during the process of transferring it from one person, social group or country to another.
Transfer of wealth is done by clever management of resources.

Resource is real wealth
By clever resource management, the wealth that is transferred can be arrested and utilized for the prosperity of the individual, social group or country.
An unwise resource management adds speed to the transfer of wealth to another person.

Resources itself do not offer any service.
Managing the resources create wealth.
A hidden or unutilized resource is not wealth.

Petroleum is a natural resource. A country can keep it under earth without digging it. The country may claim to reserve the natural resource for future. But the hidden or unused petroleum is not a managed resource. It does not create wealth. Hence no transfer is done.

The secret behind the wealth of Tyre
Isaiah 23: 1- 10
1    The Burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, For it hath been destroyed, Without house, without entrance, From the land of Chittim it was revealed to them.
 2   Be silent, ye inhabitants of the isle, Trader of Zidon, passing the sea, they filled thee.
 3   And in many waters is the seed of Sihor, The harvest of the brook is her increase, And she is a mart of nations.
 4   Be ashamed, O Zidon; for the sea spake, The strength of the sea, saying: `I have not been pained, nor have I brought forth, Nor have I nourished young men, nor brought up virgins.'
 5   As at the report of Egypt they are pained, So at the report of Tyre.
 6   Pass over to Tarshish, howl, ye inhabitants of the isle,
 7   Is this your exulting one? From the days of old is her antiquity, Carry her do her own feet afar off to sojourn.
 8   Who hath counselled this against Tyre, The crowning one, whose traders are princes, Her merchants the honoured of earth?'
 9   Jehovah of Hosts hath counselled it, To pollute the excellency of all beauty, To make light all the honoured of earth.
 10 Pass through thy land as a brook, Daughter of Tarshish, there is no more a girdle. (YLT)
(1200 BC–539 BC)
An ancient Middle East civilization.
Phoenicia was composed of independent city-states which lay along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea stretching through what are now Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel.

Each city-state was a politically independent unit.
They could come into conflict and one city might be dominated by another city-state, although they would collaborate in leagues or alliances.
The island city of Tyre and the city of Sidon were the most powerful states in Phoenicia with Gebal/Byblos and Baalbek as the most important spiritual/religious centers.

The Phoenicians were notable merchants, traders, and colonizers of the Mediterranean region in the 1st millennium BC.
They probably arrived from the Persian Gulf by 3000 BC.
By the 2nd millennium BC they had colonies in the Levant, North Africa, Anatolia, and Cyprus.
They traded wood, cloth, dyes, embroideries, wine, and decorative objects.
Ivory and wood carving became their specialties.
The work of Phoenician goldsmiths and metal smiths was well known.

The Phoenicians were the first state-level society to make extensive use of alphabets.
The Phoenician alphabet is generally held to be the ancestor of almost all modern alphabets. They spoke Phoenician, a Semitic language of the Canaanite subgroup.

Arabic saydā
The city of Sidon (modern Sidonia, Lebanon) was initially the most prosperous but steadily lost ground to her sister city of Tyre.
It was a principal city of Phoenicia from the 2nd millennium BC and a parent city of Tyre.
Zidon means a "fishing station"; this was its beginning.

Sidon, hoping to form a prosperous trade with Israel, attempted to cement trade and alliance through marriage.
Sidon was the birthplace of the Princess Jezebel who was married to the King of Israel, Ahab, as chronicled in the Biblical books of I and II Kings. 
Jezebel's refusal to relinquish her religion, dignity, and cultural identity to her husband's culture did not sit well with many of his subjects, most notably the Hebrew prophet Elijah who regularly denounced her.
Ahab and Jezebel's rule was ended by a coup, inspired by Elijah, in which the general Jehu took control of the army and usurped the throne.
Following this, trade relations between Sidon and Israel ceased.

Tyre in Hebrew is Tsur,  meaning "Rock."
Arabic sūr 

Isaiah 23: 2     Be silent, ye inhabitants of the isle, Trader of Zidon, passing the sea, they filled thee.

It was a major Phoenician port from 2000 BC through Roman times.
It was built two thousand seven hundred and sixty years before Christ. (2760 BC)
Probably founded as a colony of Sidon.
It is frequently mentioned in the Bible.
On coins Tyre is called the metropolis of the Sidonians.

Tyre was a celebrated emporium of trade. 
Tyre, an ancient wealthy city, situated upon the sea, and for many ages one of the most celebrated cities for trade and merchandise in those parts of the world.
It was noted for its silken garments and Tyrian purple dye.

Tyre formed an alliance with the newly formed Kingdom of Israel which proved very lucrative and further expanded its wealth.
By the death of Jezebel, Sidon lost all trade with Israel.
Tyre however, continued to flourish.  

There were two cities of this name
1.      On the continent
2.      The other lay on a rocky island about a half a mile from the coast of the Mediterranean.

This passage referred to in Isaiah 23: 2 is about the city on the island.
The city on the island was about four miles in circumference.

The formation of the Island city of Tyre
Old Tyre resisted Nebuchadnezzar for thirteen years.
Then the inhabitants carried, so to speak, the city to the fore mentioned island.
In 573 BC Nebuchadnezzar captured the old Tyre to find it desolate.

This new city held out against Alexander the Great for seven months.
In order to take it, he was obliged to fill up the channel which separated it from the main land.

In A.D. 1289 it was totally destroyed by the sultan of Egypt
The island now contains only a few huts, in which about fifty or sixty wretched families exist.
This desolation was foretold by this prophet and by Ezekiel, one thousand nine hundred years before it took place!

Tyre's ruins were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

Tyre and Egypt
Trading cities maintain their grandeur, not by the conquest of their neighbours, but by commerce with them. 

Egypt had helped very much to raise her.
Sihor was the river Nile of Egypt.
Bt the river Nile , and the ocean into which it ran, the Egyptians traded with Tyre

Isaiah 23: 3 And in many waters is the seed of Sihor, The harvest of the brook is her increase, And she is a mart of nations. (YLT)

The harvest of that river was her revenue.
The gains by goods exported and imported were the harvest to the trading town, Tyre.
In fact the trader Tyre made better revenue than the producer Egypt.
The products of the Egyptian soil, which the men of Tyre traded in, and which were the harvest of the river Nile, made Tyre richer than Egypt.

Isaiah 23: 3 And in many waters is the seed of Sihor, The harvest of the brook is her increase, And she is a mart of nations. (YLT)

Centre of Commerce
She had become the market of the nations, the great emporium (centre of commerce) of that part of the world. 
Every known nation went there, especially at certain times of the year, when there was a general rendezvous of merchants. 

Tyre became rich and great by trade, though she had no other ploughs going than those that plough the waters.

She was a joyous city, noted for mirth and jollity.
Those that were so disposed might find there all manner of sports and diversions, all the delights of the sons and daughters of men, balls, and plays, and operas, and everything of that kind that a man had a fancy to.
This made them secure and proud, and they despised the country people, who neither knew nor relished any joys of that nature.
This also made them very loathe to believe and consider what warnings God gave them by his servants; they were too merry to mind them.

Isaiah 23: 7     Is this your exulting one? From the days of old is her antiquity, Carry her do her own feet afar off to sojourn.

Her antiquity likewise was of ancient days.
She was proud of that, and that helped to make her secure
They believed that Tyre had been a city time out of mind.
Her antiquity had been of ancient days.
Therefore she must continue a city time without end, and her continuance must be to the days of eternity.

A Crowning City

Isaiah 23: 8 Who hath counselled this against Tyre, The crowning one, whose traders are princes, Her merchants the honoured of earth?'

She was a crowning city, that crowned herself.
Such were the power and pomp of her magistrates that they crowned those who had dependence on her and dealings with her.
Her merchants were princes, and lived like princes.
Her traffickers, whatever country they go to, were the honourable of the earth, who were respected by all. 

How slightly so ever some now speak of tradesmen.
It seems formerly, and among the wisest nations, there were merchants, and traders, and men of business, that were the honourable of the earth.

The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that "Egypt was the gift of the Nile".
An unending source of sustenance, it provided a crucial role in the development of Egyptian civilization.
Silt deposits from the Nile made the surrounding land fertile because the river overflowed its banks annually.
The Ancient Egyptians cultivated and traded wheat, flax, papyrus and other crops around the Nile.
Wheat was a crucial crop in the famine-plagued Middle East.
This trading system secured Egypt's diplomatic relationships with other countries, and contributed to economic stability.
Far-reaching trade has been carried on along the Nile since ancient times.

River Nile
The River Nile is the longest in the world, stretching for 4,187 miles.
The Nile flows from south to north
It is formed by three major tributaries: the White Nile, the Blue Nile and the Atbara.

The White Nile rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa.
The Atbara River, roughly halfway to the sea, which originates in Ethiopia north of Lake Tana,.

The Blue Nile, however, is the source of most of the water and silt.
The Blue Nile has its source in the highlands of the African country of Ethiopia, by Lake Tana.

Ninety percent of the water and ninety-six percent of the transported sediment carried by the Nile originates in Ethiopia, with fifty-nine percent of the water from the Blue Nile.

The erosion and transportation of silt only occurs during the Ethiopian rainy season in the summer

By African standards, Ethiopia is a potentially wealthy country
It has fertile soil and good rainfall over large regions.
Farmers produce a variety of grains, including wheat, corn, and millet.
Coffee also grows well on southern slopes.
Herders can raise cattle, sheep, and goats in nearly all parts of the country.
Additionally, Ethiopia possesses several valuable minerals, including gold and platinum.

Ethiopia's resources have enabled the country to maintain contacts with the outside world for centuries.
Since ancient times, Ethiopian traders exchanged gold, ivory, musk, and wild animal skins for salt and luxury goods, such as silk and velvet.

Despite its many riches, Ethiopia never became a great trading nation.
Most Ethiopians despised traders, preferring instead to emulate the country's warriors and priests.
After establishing a foothold in the country, Greek, Armenian, and Arab traders became the economic intermediaries between Ethiopia and the outside world.
Arabs also settled in the interior and eventually dominated all commercial activity except petty trade.
 Three Countries and One Resource
We have three countries and one potential resource for their wealth.

River Nile – the one resource

The water and silt mainly belong to Ethiopians, but they were not the wealthiest nation of the region.
Egypt was wealthier than Ethiopia.
Tyre was wealthier than these two.

Egypt became wealthy by managing the resource transferred to them from Ethiopia.
Tyre further managed the resources they got from Egypt and Ethiopia and became the richest nation.

Tyre did not do anything but trade on Egypt that came by the river Nile and the sea.

Though Ethiopia is the source of the resource, they despised tradesmen and failed to manage the resource.
Tyre managed what came by them to the best benefit of them.

Parable of talents
Matthew 25.14 - 30
The master was going to a far country
Before he went he summoned his own slaves and handed over his property to them.
To one he gave five talents.
To the second he gave two.
To the third he gave one.
Talents were entrusted to each one according to his own ability.
And he went on a journey immediately.

The one who had received the five talents went out and traded with them and gained five more.
The second who had the two gained two more, in the same way.
But the one who had received one went away and dug up the ground and hid his master’s money.

 After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.

The first slave who had received five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents. See, I have gained five more talents!’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge over many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’

The second slave who had two talents also came up and said, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents. See, I have gained two talents more!’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge over many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’

The third slave who had received the one talent came up also and said, ‘Master, because I knew you, that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering from where you did not scatter seed.  And because I was afraid, I went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours!’

But his master answered and said to him, ‘Evil and lazy slave! You knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather from where I did not scatter seed. Then you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and when I returned I would have gotten back what was mine with interest! Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw the worthless slave into the outer darkness—in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!’

The study
Faithful slaves enjoyed freedom under good masters to an extent.
Good and benignant masters permitted their slaves to do trade and make profit.
A portion of the profit goes to the slave and the rest to the master.
Such slaves enjoyed more freedom than others.
Hence faithfulness pays even in slavery.
Such narration of slavery is found in George S Clason’s book, “The Richest Man in Babylon”

All the three slaves in the parable were faithful to give back it to the master when he returned.

The last one got only one talent.
Even one talent is not a despicable stock for a slave to begin with.
A talent was equal to 15 years’ wages

What was the master’s intention?
Surely, he wanted his slaves to trade with it in one way or other in order to multiply it.
The slaves too will be benefited from the profit they make.

A definition for wealth
From the intention of the master we may form a definition for wealth.

Wealth is a value that multiplies in the presence and even in the absence of its master.
All others are liabilities.
Liabilities are things whose value decreases in the absence and even in his presence.

House, car etc. are liabilities.
Investment in land is wealth.

Why traded with it?
The intention is to multiply the property

Trading is a diligent and dedicated hard job.

“A tradesman is one who, having made his trade his choice and taken pains to learn it, lays out all he has for the advancement of it, makes all other affairs bent to it and lives upon the gain of it.” – Matthew Henry’s commentary

Trading is a good example for clever resource management
What a trader trades in remains with the trader only for a short time
He only buys and sells.
During the process of buying and selling, he manages the resource he has (what he has bought) in such a way to make a profit.

A trader does not manufacture anything
He does not produce
He owns nothing
He is only a middleman
He positions himself at a strategic point where the manufacturer / producer / owner and the customer meet each other through him and exchange products and their value.

The products of others are the resources of a tradesman to make profit.

A tradesman in an unnecessary necessity.

A successful trader is a good example for clever resource management

Accounts settled
The first two, it is said that, they traded with the money and doubled it.
They made a hundred percentage profit out of it.

But the one who received one talent hesitated to trade.
He said that he was afraid of losing it.

He did not misspent it.
He did not misemploy it.
He did not squander it away.
He kept the money safe.

The intention of hiding it under the earth was not to cheat the master, but to keep it safe from robbers.

When the master came back, he returned the money safe.

But the master called him “evil and lazy”.

What little he had was taken away from him.
He was left poor and imprisoned.

His one talent was given to the first one who doubled his ten talents.

The master sums up the whole incident with the moral:

For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Proverbs 10. 4. A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent enriches.

Proverbs 27. 23, 24. 
23Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;
24for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. (NIV)

The Three Ts
We have three resources to succeed in our life.
Every one has these three Ts.
They are:
·         Time
·         Talents (Health)
·         Treasure

Gazelle and Lion
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”

Gazelles are medium-sized antelopes found in Africa and in Asia as far east as Mongolia.
There are some 19 different species of gazelles.

Gazelles are rather small antelopes, most standing 2–3.5 ft (61–107 cm) high at the shoulder, and are generally fawn-colored.

These grazing antelopes live in herds, which can consist of as few as ten or as many as several hundred animals.
During the plentiful rainy season, thousands of animals can be seen gathering in large groups.
Gazelles typically frequent wide-open spaces and plains, where they browse on grasses, shoots, and leaves.

Open plains make them visible to predators like cheetahs or wild dogs, but gazelles are fleet of foot.
Gazelles are known as swift animals.
Some are able to run at bursts as high as 60 mph (97 km/h), or run at a sustained speed of 30 mph (48 km/h).

Gazelle and Lion - Prayer
A Gazelle prays to God to save it from the chasing lion.
A hungry lion prays to God for the Gazelle it chases for food, otherwise it will die.
Whose prayer will God answer?

God will answer none of them.

God has already given each of them the power to sustain them.
It is up to them to use the power or die.

God has given each of us enough resources to lead a successful life.
We are free to make a choice, either to manage them well and succeed or fail.

Let us manage our resources well and succeed.

Professor Jacob Abraham
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