The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics. Thomas Sowell
In my last blog, I shared that our church had challenged us to stop spending. No new stuff for two weeks. That was the first of 3 challenges in a series dealing with consumerism.
After the first week of Challenge #1, Challenge #2 was revealed: Find value in free. Our pastors encouraged us to continue the spending freeze but also to find ways to spend quality time with your family for free. Today, the pastors introduced Challenge #3: Count your blessings. Every day for a week list 10 things you’re grateful for – and no repeats!
These challenges, they explained, lead to the ultimate challenge of living more generously. To live in the light of God’s “inverted” economy. To test His way of living against ours and to trust that His economy is best. For a general description of God’s economic plan read the following verses from Proverbs.
One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
People curse the one who hoards grain,
but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.
Whoever seeks good finds favor,
but evil comes to one who searches for it.
Those who trust in their riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
Here are some principles I’ve learned over the last three weeks about God’s economy.
- God’s economy is not a capitalistic one.
- God’s economy is based on abundance, not on scarcity.
- God’s economy is counterintuitive and illogical.
- A spending freeze will not fix the problem of consumerism. Generosity is the only cure for consumption.
- Generosity generates blessing.
- In God’s economy, giving is not a loss, it is always a gain.
- In God’s economy, expect God’s help. That is honoring to God.
- “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
God’s system of economics does seem backwards, though. Supply has nothing to do with demand. Yet, He promises that for those who seek Him first, His righteousness, and His way, that all the things we need will be there (Matthew 6:33).
God is rich in all things good and He is completely generous. He has modeled His own system for us. We know this because He gave us Jesus. And Jesus gave up everything, He gave it all away – He made himself nothing, He completely emptied Himself. He took on the plight of humanity, and ultimately our death. The result of this undeserved generosity? God exalted Him to the highest place and at His name we bow (Philippians 2:5-11). And because of Jesus, we have access to everything good. Because of His emptying out, we have God’s blessing, we have life to the full (John 10:10).
God’s acting on His own economic principles has graciously afforded us salvation, hope, and life to the full. In faith, we receive these incredible blessings. Why not, in faith, also entrust our meager “stuff” to God. Not simply to receive the promised blessings. But also so that we might be a blessing to someone else.
Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10
*Thank you Pastors Steve, Ryan, and Dion, as well as Emily and my father for their collective insights that made up this blog.