God's Economy Is Always Good
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6
"Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it." ~ Proverbs 15:16
In today's economy, it's a struggle to live the American Dream, but the endless pursuit of houses and things is, well, not so biblical if you think about it. We embrace progress with little thought of being bound by the very things we hold so dear.
Consider this: Our human default is set on the flesh. It's natural to spend our lives accumulating. For some, it's a fine art; for others, the purpose for living. Either way, those feel-good moments at the point of purchase quickly evaporate as the bills roll in. Maybe it takes 2-3 jobs to survive, or maybe that's what it takes to keep up with the Joneses. One thing's for sure, our excesses prove what we're conditioned to believe, that more is somehow better. No one has to be rich to fall into that trap.
And so goes the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. We suffer when we're never satisfied.
Is it a sign of God's blessing to have "more"? Or is that a way to justify our expenditures? Lest you think I'm meddling, these are questions I'm asking myself.
What I've noticed in my own life, and the lives of those around me, is that perpetual striving breeds discontent. Not that we have to live in straw huts to prove we're spiritual-minded. But the flesh is never satisfied. It's that simple. We tend to stuff our lives with meaningless possessions and pursuits long before we ever recognize the depths of our discontent.
J.I. Packer spoke to discontentment. He says it dishonors God to proclaim a Savior who satisfies, yet go around discontent. Ouch. But C.K. Chesterton said there are two ways to get enough: "One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less." Some of us have gone bankrupt trying to accumulate more and more. Our desires won't change until the Lord shapes and fills our heart. Jesus reminds us:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
I love how Jesus never cautions us without also the promise of His provision:
"Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. . . For the Gentiles seek after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. . ." (Matthew 6:25-32).
In Him, we're free from the bondage of materialism. We're freed from worry. The world may judge us by our clothes, cars, and houses, but our values are different. We see the vanity in chasing after the temporal. As God provides for our needs, we discover a beautiful path of escape from the frenzied, selfish, and misdirected life. Indeed, if we have shoes on our feet and food in our belly, we're thankful and blessed.
Which economy will we embrace today?
In what has been dubbed the Age of Envy, it's still possible to be content. May our thanksgiving overflow to Jehovah Jireh, the God who Provides. As we work diligently in the power of His might, according to His enablement, we find rest for our souls and a peace the world knows nothing about.
Let's live according to His economy, and not the world's.