A friend posted a link to this article on Facebook, and it really got me thinking (again) about economics and the Kingdom of God. Learning about the global economic situation and fiscal policy makes me fall in love with Jesus in whole new ways and want to peer deeper into the workings of the Kingdom. Man's feeble attempts to right the sinking ship that we've built seem like so much thrashing about in an ocean of greed, selfishness and pride. Seeing brilliant and powerful people scramble to avert a disaster of our own making makes me tremble a little, and then I remember – He’s coming!
What will global economics look like when Jesus reigns on the earth? What is the fiscal policy of Heaven? I don’t mean those as just rhetorical questions…I really want to know. I’ve looked some at what the Word says about personal finance, but lately I’ve been listening to NPR’s Planet Money podcast and it makes me realize that I have very little understanding of what God (the best economist) would really say about the systemic problems contributing to national and international-level economic crisis.
One the one hand, it seems so simple – we should love each other, walk in humility and generosity, and not do wicked things like putting people in financial slavery. But even good intentions don’t always make good policy. To really institute a global economic system functioning on the basis of love, humility, generosity and righteousness, it takes perfect leadership over individual hearts and perfect administration on a massive scale. In other words, it takes Jesus, reigning as King.
So, here in the waiting, what does that mean for me (or for us, the global church)? What’s my relationship to the economics of this world? I want to understand how we got to where we are now, and whether there is anything of redeeming value in our current system. Is it so full of decay that it will all just be tossed on the burn pile of eternity? Or is there any shred of true provision left within the framework that we’ve constructed? I wonder if we’ve tried so hard to manufacture our own provision and security that we have essentially cut ourselves off from the provision of Heaven on a widespread level. I mean that in literal, earthy terms. How much faith have we placed in the sustainability of our global economic system? If that system collapsed next year, how would the Church respond? How would I respond? Am I living today in a way that agrees with God’s economy or fights against it? Is the church at large really walking in the Gospel of the Kingdom? Do we even know what that looks like?