Mike Merrill was short of cash in 2008, so he decided to incorporate himself – but not in the way that most people start a shareholder company. He decided to sell shares in himself, with the return being made from the income he would earn from a second job. Each share was worth $1 and he tried to sell 100,000 of them.
Unfortunately, he decided beforehand that any shares that were unsold would be non-voting, so when he sold less than a thousand shares, he was stuck with these few shareholders having say over his life. This was because anyone who bought a share in him was not only to receive a return from his second job, but would also have a voting right to any major decisions he would make in his life. These voting rights included where he would live, whom he would date, whether he would move in with his girlfriend; along with any other important decision that most of us would take very seriously.
It is a strange notion for sure, but it is not a new one. For most of history people could be bought and sold, often by their own parents, to cover a debt or to make restitution for a loss. In fact, when Paul talks about Christians in I Corinthians 6 he says that, “we are bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies”.
This notion of being purchased might seem out of date in our world, but it is not, there are more slaves today that at any time in history. The reality is that most are not aware that they are slaves. This is because we can all be slaves to many things – and to many different ideas. True reality is that three quarters of Americans live pay check to pay check. These people may think they are free, but they are not. Simply telling themselves they are free is merely a way they cope with their situation.
As Proverbs 22 tells us that “the debtor is a slave to the lender”. This isn’t meant as a hyperbole or some form of exaggeration, it is stated because it is true and accurate. Paul warns us as Christians again in I Corinthians 7 where he says, “you were bought with a price, so don’t be enslaved by the world”.
The reality is that so many things in this world are enslaving. This can happen when we give up authority for decision making over ourselves without realizing it; it is then that we are easily entrapped. If, however, you view your life as Paul did, or even Mike Merrill, then you realize how important the need is to consult others before you make any important decisions.
You see, for those who call themselves Christians, they are obligated to ask both God, in the form of prayer; and other Christians, in the form of advice, before they make important decisions. This is because we are no longer our own, we are owned by another. This becomes automatic when we accept Christ’s sacrifice. We have been bought and paid for, and so your obligation is then to consult those whom God has ordained for us to check in with. It is no longer a choice whether you should do it or not.
So, if you find yourself buried in debt, or enslaved in a world of your own making, then you really have only one recourse. The first step is deciding who your master is, and the second is to get out from any other master that you have become a slave to, with the help of godly advice.
The crazy thing is this is the only way that any of us becomes free.