2020: Restoring A Giving Economy
“Government is religion applied to economics.” — R.E. McMasters, No Time for Slaves
The growing economic divide in our nation is reaching a boiling point in 2020. Progressives and Liberals believe the solution is higher taxes and wealth redistribution. Conservatives, Independents and Libertarians believe a better solution is less government and more economic freedom.
Will America lead the world into a new political and economic direction in 2020? Or, perhaps will we rediscover something sacred from our past?
Economics is defined as “the science of household management, or material stewardship.” Our spiritual foundation forms a basis for our legal foundation, which determines our economic system. America was founded upon sacred, godly principles which helped us build the world’s strongest economy. But as our leaders have strayed from the truth, our nation has become polarized and economically weak.
A secular (or dualistic) economic outlook on life encourages us to make daily choices based upon whatever we feel is best for us. We might call this mindset “ego-nomics,” or us vs. them, which helps explain why so many people today only feel content when the financial world is going their way. A secular economy believes that money can be created out of nothing (fiat) by central banks, essentially saying: ‘Yes, money does grow on government trees.’
A sacred (or holistic) economic outlook on life encourages us to make different choices — including setting aside self-centered interests and establishing spiritual priorities in life; thereby becoming the best possible stewards of our God-given resources, including our time, talents, environment and wealth. A sacred economy begins with the premise that all good things flow from a loving Creator’s expanding Tree of Life for the benefit of all living creatures.
Today’s secularized economic and banking system is no longer based upon historically sacred, pure substances, such as gold and silver, but rather upon impure symbolism. As a result, our debt-based money system is slowly strangling American culture and ever-widening the so-called “wealth gap.”
Fifty years ago our nation has abandoned an honest gold-backed money system. The decision to convert declining paper currency into U.S. gold and silver coins today serves as a reminder of America’s sacred economic heritage, as well as providing a solid foundation for economic prosperity.
Here are six key values paramount in restoring a sacred economy which, if practiced, could help us bridge the growing wealth gap today and serve to remind that true prosperity is not only defined by the abundance of our things, but also by the fewness of our wants.
1: A Giving Economy
A sacred economic worldview is vastly more inclusive and inspiring than most people can imagine. It begins with the foundational understanding that God is the owner and grantor of everything. We own nothing. All that we possess He has put in our ‘trust’ account, which God promises will meet all of our needs. “Remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that has gives you power to create wealth,” Moses reminded Israel in Deuteronomy 8:18. In contrast, the secular world believes since there is no Giver, we are free to take all we can, since no one else will — which most often leads to a lifetime of striving for provision, without ever achieving peace of mind or contentment.
2: Embracing All People
In the Old Testament we see that although the children of Israel continually turned their backs on God, His love and provision was always relentless. God continually searches the hearts of men and women to find those who want to please Him. We can make the choice to be numbered among God’s people, but it means forsaking our self-centered life and yielding to the spirit of love, giving and sacrifice. Our faith must reflect the inclusivity of the loving Creator of all mankind — regardless of race, gender, culture or spiritual background.
3: Not Based on Greed
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money,” said Jesus in Matthew 6:24. Serving money as master leads to greed, which Solomon said, “takes away the life of its owners.” (Proverbs 1:19). Greed finds a comfortable home in secularism. Lusting after temporal things is one of the biggest distractions from seeking and entering God’s Kingdom. If our core identity is in being a child of God let us not waste our life energy chasing earthly wealth.
4: Giving and Being Given
The culture of God’s Kingdom is giving. Jesus continually dealt with our motives. “Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down and shaken together,” He promised in Luke 16:38. But our motive for giving is not to get. The Apostle Paul reminds us that our gifts cannot induce God, because “of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things,” (Roman 11:36). Solomon said, “Give and the windows of heaven will be opened,” (Proverbs 3:10). Sacrificial givers are promised overflowing abundance, which may be manifested in both the material and/or the spiritual realms.
5: Multiplication By Subtraction
God’s economy uses a very different form of mathematics than the world system. When we subtract our ownership rights to our possessions, it gives our Creator the ability to multiply and bless them for His purposes. Suddenly losing things becomes the pathway to finding more important things in life. Denying our self, Jesus said, leads to finding our real self in God. Unless a seed falls to the earth and dies it will yield no fruit. “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” (Prov. 11:24) Remember the little boy who gave Jesus the two fish and seven loafs? This small act of giving allowed Jesus to make provision for 5,000. That’s heavenly math!
6: The Cost of Surrender
Jesus modeled a life of surrender of everything on earth to His Heavenly Father. It was His pathway to manifesting sacred values that empowered Him to work miracles. Surrender of the things we hold dearest to us is also the pathway to seeing more of God’s power operating in our lives. Children of God are called to be the leaven in the lump of bread, the salt of the earth, to preserve and flavor a world which seems to value everything else more than walking closely with our Creator. “Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others,” said Augustine.
Thankfully there’s a fresh spiritual movement afoot in America today crossing all denominations and wisdom traditions seeking to integrate faith and work, contemplation and action, to help create solutions our nation’s growing problem of economic inequality.
In 2020, may we each seek to find our place of service in a local spiritual community that is committed to the flourishing of all people… “on earth, as it is in heaven.”