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What Does Jubilee Do to Value?

Leviticus teaches us about the year of Jubilee – giving slaves their freedom every fiftieth year.  In most cases, these slaves had become slaves because of debt, meaning roughly once every generation, a family had a shot at freedom.  Another portion of Jubilee related to lands being given back to their rightful owners.  This tended to keep the tribes in the same geographical location.  But what did it do to land values near the end of the cycle?  What do you invest in, knowing Jubilee is coming?

A few years ago we drove down the coast from Los Angeles and a friend pointed out a row of old houses built on cliffs overlooking the Pacific.  The houses were owned by individuals – but the land had been leased from a family for 99 years…about 85 years earlier.  When the leases were up, the owners would lose their lot.  This probably wasn’t a factor for those living in the house in 1940.  But in 2011?  You’ve gotta be thinking about it…

The owner could, conceivably, wreck the house in spite, but they couldn’t take it with them.  They were living on borrowed time.

So what do you pay for a house you’re destined to lose?  What’s the value of an asset with an expiration date?

Maybe it’s a healthy way to think about wealth.  We’re all living life on 99 year leases.


3 Responses

  1. Not that this is significant to the very important point you make, but I have heard there is no historical evidence that Israel ever actually celebrated Jubilee.

  2. You’re mad because I tweeted about sitting in your seat in the prayer room. 🙂

  3. Jubilee years also give the opportunity to renegotiate terms. I am sure that as the 50th year came close, land lease values were significantly less than at the beginning of the cycle. Once the cycle renews, the lease terms can be renegotiated and the new terms could possibly benefit both the land owner and the renewed or new lessee in greater ways. On a spiritual level, this is something I am now experiencing in my own 50th year. God has restored what has been stolen and sold and the new terms are much more to my liking! 🙂 Just because my Jubilee year has coincided with my own chronological age, is no reason to think that will be the case for everyone. Your family year of Jubilee could be anytime. God knows. Ask Him 🙂

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