God’s Economy

I’ve been planning on blogging this for quite some time, but I wasn’t sure where to put it or what exactly to do with this idea. Seeing how FTN opened up the discussion with his post, it seems logical to go ahead and extend it. Plus I ran across a few other things that sort of got my mind focused on the need for some treatment of this subject. Namely the incident this past week on Wall Street where a group of Christians gathered to pray for our economy…in front of the bronze bull. Yeah, have a look at the video This dovetails very cozily with what FTN said about the Patriotizing of Christianity in this country. What a load of Bull! This atheist Youtuber put it pretty well, I thought.. The heathens are having a field day with this crap, and rightly so.

The fact of the matter is, is we have everything totally wrong and upside down when it comes to money compared to how God has ordered things. Jesus attempted to express this through his parables and examples where the rich seemed to always have a rough time of it in the kingdom of God. This is because the rich get rich through having their priorities upside down. Tax collectors, rulers, money changers and even pharisees seemed to be on the make as they took advantage of people for personal gain. Jesus made it clear that the Kingdom of God was run by a much different set of standards than those on earthly kingdoms. So in God’s eyes, a recession or a depression wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. It would help people see their priorities more clearly and help loosen the baggage and bondage that is formed between us and our possessions. We would have to prioritize and really think about what is important in our lives instead of running around and trying to have it all. We would have to lean on God and each other instead of our own abilities and pride. Praying for banks and financial institutions is totally off the mark! God is less concerned about our comfort as much as about our character. And that is a key concept when understanding God’s politics and His economy.

I don’t talk much about my job, because I do keep that separate from what I do here. But it does figure prominently in my thoughts on this. For the past few years, I’ve experienced a growing dissatisfaction from my work. That is because I feel a growing sense of isolation, futility, few opportunities for advancement, and no little recognition in a business that gets little enough recognition as it is. I’m marginalized serving people that are the most marginalized in all of society. And that’s the problem. From an earthly standpoint, this is a pretty low job as illustrated by the highest turnover in a profession that has been rife with turnover. But in God’s economy, the only way I could be higher on the totem pole would be to do what I do for free or else actually BE one of the people I serve. I’m good at my job by virtue of being particularly tenacious (stubborn) and stable (hard headed) as well as an advocate (a prick). The combination has been so effective that despite being qualified for “higher” positions, I am sort of stuck by virtue of the fact that there is no one to replace me. On one hand I feel special. On the other I feel trapped. I’ve been trying desperately to get out, and have not been able to break free.

And then I’ve been thinking about God’s economy. In His kingdom, I’m not going for a promotion, I’m angling for a DEmotion in order to get more prestige and a feeling of more self-worth (the money is pretty much the same). But self-worth can not be derived from other people, mostly because people almost always get it wrong. They always are drawn to the most attractive, most powerful, richest, outgoing, flashy characters who mostly end up to be morally empty and corrupt. Look at the people young people might call role models who they try to emulate!

Look at those idiots on Wall Street praying before a big metal bull! They are seemingly as devoid of common sense as that hunk of metal. And yet, I’m not much better off than them. I remember in the late ’80’s thinking those fellows on Wall Street were the cool guys and how neat it would be to be a rich wheeler dealer. Who can forget this speech? And let’s face it– chicks dig a guy with a fat wallet. So do their parents. It’s hard not to get sucked in by the worldly hype and want all the shiny toys and the fancy house and the new cars. Americans bought the lie and went into debt to do it. And now look where we are. We ALL prayed to that bull one way or another. We believed what the politicians told us, that the good times could go on forever. In 2000 there was all this talk of a surplus. Even now, politicians talk about the surplus that supposedly existed back then. Bush and Gore each were making plans on how to spend it. Trouble is, it never existed. They both lied and anyone talking about it is still demented. The government has been taking money out from Social Security for the past 25 years and writing IOUs. In the next decade it will be time to pay and where is THAT money going to come from?

But again, the whole concept of Social Security is a lie. Jesus and the disciples didn’t have a 401k plan. They didn’t have a Roth IRA. They didn’t even have a savings bond. I totally understand the desire to try to help our families be more stable and less vulnerable to risk. We want our children to be taken care of plus we also do NOT want to be a burden on them in our old age. But this is not how God sees it. Again, our comfort and aversion to risk are not high priorities in His kingdom. The creator of the universe does not need whole life insurance or a trust fund. He IS the trust, the life and the security.

Which is why I think the poor, the sick and the lame and the needy are among us. Or are us. Without people who needed our total care and compassion, the world would be an even more self-centered, evil mess. It’s where we learn priorities and humility. And that probably explains why I’m seemingly stuck where I am. I have much more to learn about these things than most people who seem more naturally inclined toward compassion and caring.

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4 Responses to “God’s Economy”

  1. FTN Says:

    I tried to explain some of this stuff to some friends the other night, and I’ve found it’s easier to explain in writing that it is through a conversation with 10 people. I think a couple people got my main point about “patriotizing Christianity,” but it also seemed like I was getting some blank stares.

    You are most definitely working in a place you are needed, a place where you are utilizing gifts God has given you, and yes, it sounds like sometimes that sucks. There’s probably not much prestige and not a ton of money. It’s admirable that you recognize that… I’m terribly impressed by it, myself (as a guy who works for a big global corporation).

    Some of us are going through the book of Acts together, and the relationship between the “wandering charismatics” (the apostles and evangelists) and the “local sympathizers” (the people that sell plots of land and lay the money at the apostles’ feet to support the cause and feed the poor) fascinates me. There is such a TRUE sharing of possessions among brothers and sisters, and it’s so far beyond what any of us are doing these days. And we just assume that can’t truly be done these days, and no one even tries. Even giving money to our own churches, very little of it goes towards things like that.

  2. Digger Jones Says:

    Catching up on comments….

    It is difficult explaining these things to people, because they are in the middle of it. In the middle of the wrongness. This is why God provided such rich illustrations and contrast in the Bible. That picture on Wall Street is a perfect example and could have come from anywhere in the Old Testament! And when churches go hawking for more money for operational expenses, they are praying to the same bull. Baal, bull…same difference. It all removes God from the role of God.

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