The Ferengi Rules Of Acquisition

The Ferengi Rules Of Acquisition

The Ferengi are an alien race in the world of Star Trek.  They first appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Here’s a brief snippet about them:

“Their home planet, Ferenginar, is the center of the Ferengi Alliance and is governed by the Grand Nagus and a Commerce Authority made primarily of the Council of Economic Advisors (formerly Board of Liquidators). Like most of their culture, their religion is also based on the principles of capitalism: they offer prayers and monetary offerings to a Blessed Exchequer in hopes of entering the "Divine Treasury" upon death, and fear an afterlife spent in the Vault of Eternal Destitution.”   

Bear with me please … I do have a life, honestly.

The Ferengi have 285 Rules of Acquisition.  Their whole existence focuses upon, and revolves around, Profit.  To them, it's not worth investing time and energy if no profit is to be realized.  

Here are a few of their Rules of Acquisition.  (The headings are mine.)

#2 The best deal is the one that brings the most profit.
#9 Opportunity plus instinct leads to profit.
#13 Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
#21 Never place friendship above profit.

When engaged in making Profit:  
#48 The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
#151 Even when you’re a customer, sell yourself.

A key to exacting Profit is to remember:
#284 Deep down everyone’s a Ferengi.  

I just finished reading Malachi.  A section of verses in chapter three caught my attention.  I think you’ll see the “Ferengi” connection.
— 13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? 14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and WHAT PROFIT IS IT that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? 15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. —

From the leaders (religiously and politically) to the people, the general overall mood was one of weariness with the things of God.  As the following two verses show, the situation had seriously deteriorated.

“Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord.” (1:13)

"But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the Torah; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts." (2:8)

About 100 years had passed since the return from Exile.  The newness had worn off.  It wasn't fresh and exciting.  It was getting stale.  Coinciding with that, the Priests had turned the service and worship of God into a very Profitable enterprise. A mindset which trickled down to the people as well. 

Has much really changed in our day? Christianity and the Messianic Movement are big money makers. There's much “Profit” to made.  May I suggest, too much?

God’s people are (at least in our country) a very profitable people.  The opulence of Ministries, along with the people in the congregations, matches and sometimes exceeds their counterparts in the world.  Just take a look.

Preachers/Pastors make good money.  Their wardrobes are top of the line.  Their cars are new. Their houses are luxurious.  In some cases helicopters transport the preacher, between services, from one congregation location to the next.  Some even have bodyguards. And, people who are very well off financially gladly fund it all. We are indeed a very prosperous and Profitable people.  We’d make many a Ferengi proud.   

I just don’t see any of this modeled in the Scriptures though.  However, here's what I do see.  When God’s people become “at ease in their personal Zion,” neglect of God and worldliness creeps in.  

We parrot sayings like: “What Would Jesus Do?” But then, do we "do" as He did?  We say we live as the Bible says we should.  But then, do we proceed to live contrary to it?  Perhaps we need to take a fresh look at Matthew 8:19-20.

“And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

What?  That doesn’t sound very … Profitable!  

Though we haven’t read them, I’d “Wager” to say we live lives more in line with the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition than we do the Bible. Don’t agree? Then consider the following "Rule of Acquisition."

“24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and Follow Me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man Profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26)

Are you “deep down” more a Ferengi (Rule #284) or a Follower (Matthew 16:24)?  Whose Rules of Acquisition best describe you -- those of the Ferengi or Yeshua?

A Ferengi once said: “A man is only worth the sum of his possessions.”  Although we might not want to admit it, that might just reflect the mindset of many ministries and believers today. I think it’s time for some honest biblical self-examination. 

What do you think?

P.S. - Here’s the first example in the Bible of a good Ferengi Transaction.  “Profit” seems to be a strong factor in every era of God’s people.

Genesis 37:23-27

23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;

24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

26 And Judah said unto his brethren, WHAT PROFIT IS IT {just like in Malachi} if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.