Growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, I often saw commercials about the need to be careful about starting forest fires. Smokey the Bear warned us about forest fires in an effort to curb the destruction of our national forests. Over time, the people in charge of the park systems realized that forest fires not caused by human error were beneficial to the long-term health of the forest. Some trees, like Jack Pines or Giant Redwoods, are only able to reproduce from the heat of a forest fire.
Another observation was that if forests did not experience fires from time to time, when a fire did occur, the heat from the accumulated underbrush was excessive, damaging the natural. The lesson we can glean is although we need to be careful in causing excess damage, we must also understand times of destruction are as important as the times of rebirth. God has made everything beautiful in its season! Trying to avoid problems can actually cause greater ones.
The Economic Forest Fire
I was thinking about this topic as it relates to the economic system. The economic system, although a seemingly human invention, is guided by seasonal systems similar to the climate. There are times of growth and prosperity and there are times of dearth and loss. Over time, when one observes these things, a wise person can navigate the cycles knowing the “weeding out” process is helpful for the long-term health of the system. These downtimes weed out bad behavior giving rise to new life and new ideas.
The Federal Reserve and the central banks were created to even out these hardships and buffer us from pain, but I have found that the more we try to manipulate things to prevent problems, the more likely they will lead to bigger ones. Take for example the financial crisis of 2008. Over a period of many years, the manipulation of the financial sector increased systemic impact creating a situation that could have crippled the world system (so they tell us). Yet, the lack of recovery also tells us perhaps more pain could have made the recovery more impactful. I also see how the banking intervention has made it possible for many people, companies and governments to not face the error of their ways.
At this time, it seems as though we are relying on “miracle cures”; “cures” that all the politicians want to take the accolades for. But who will take the blame when the next crisis hits? Everyone has an idea for a “miracle cure” or how it inject growth into the process, but very few want to tell people that the best plan includes learning how to deal with life with wisdom and restraint. Instead of developing long-term goals that include self-denial, we seem to prefer dramatic rescues and miraculous protection.
Are We Building On The World’s Pattern?
I believe we are living in a day when God wants His people to shine as a light to our world. Our testimony must be the contrast in our actions motivated by God’s Word and His Spirit rather than human cravings and desires. As Christians in business, we should demonstrate the glory of manifesting the fruit of the spirit. We should be revealing how powerful self-control, patience, and long-suffering (the very nature of God) can produce glorious results in the lives of people.
As a spirit-filled Christian I believe in miracles and dramatic rescues. I have had my share and I thank God for each of them. However, these amazing gifts should not be part of the “plans for life”; they should be seen as auxiliary tools of life.
Many people in the church think the testimony they have is the manipulation of the cycles of life through miraculous faith. In looking at God’s eternal plan for the earth and also His people, we should observe that contrary to what we would like to see, He simply moves through history with seemingly mundane actions that produce a church that actually is growing in amazing ways through all the nations of the earth.
We should expect to see Him produce a glorious church and also a victorious church, but based upon His pattern, it will not be something conjured up in a moment; it will be the work of patient continuance with His eternal purpose being fulfilled. It will be the fruit of a long-term sowing and reaping. It will be the result of times of winter and times of growing. It will be the result of a farmer who has more than the gift of farming; he will have the fruit of the harvest!
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:7-8)
Take a moment and evaluate the attitude of your own heart. Do you seek miracles more than you seek a long-term resolve to live a life that reflects His full kingdom? Let’s take some steps to cultivate a life that will demonstrate His glory!