We are now in one of the most uncertain economic climates since 1929. Indeed, some would say that the world has never been in more financial peril.
Depressed global money markets and political uncertainty in prompting the questions: where will all this go to? what will happen in the end?
Only God knows. But there is a dawning realisation that a global economy based on credit cannot last indefinitely. We cannot take out more than we put in.
Money is useful to us as a practical alternative to bartering goods or services, and as a means of storing transferable value which can be released when we need. But everything which we consider valuable has directly or indirectly come from God. He has made the precious metals, the raw ingredients for manufacturing, the plants and animals which give us food; and has given to human beings the physical and intellectual power to use it all wisely. “The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” Psalm 24:1; and “… for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.” Psalm 50:10-11
As we convert what God has given to us into monetary value, and seek to add value by trading goods and services, ultimately we cannot harvest anything more than God has already put in to His world, or has allowed to multiply. However, natural resources of minerals and fossil fuels can never multiply - only living things. So we use capital resources we cannot replenish, and borrow money we cannot repay, but we fool ourselves by living very comfortably off our short-term profits. In other words, the world is functionally bankrupt.
How should Christians react to this?
Firstly, to be content knowing that it is only through God’s goodness that we have enough, and through His grace we can enjoy what we have. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5; and “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8
Secondly, we need to restrain the sinful desire to get richer: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.” Proverbs 23:4
Thirdly, for those who have more than enough money, they should not put their trust in it: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17
Fourthly, those who have money should be willing to share it: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Fifthly, for those who make money by employment or trading, be totally honest in the way you work and run the business. Honesty is godly. "Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity.” Leviticus 19:35
Sixthly, for those who are employers, don’t oppress your workers or bribe those who are more powerful than you: “He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich - both come to poverty.” Proverbs 22:16; and “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.” James 5:1-5
Seventhly, remember that lusting after money gives Satan permission to seduce us with many other temptations: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10
Eighthly, we must not stop giving to God. “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - the whole nation of you - because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. 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 3:8-10
So do not despair. Be content; don’t be greedy for more; don’t put your trust in money; share what you have; work honestly; don’t oppress others; don’t lust for money and so open yourself to Satan’s other temptations; and keep giving to God.
© Dr Paul Adams 2012