As politicians debate our economic future, I believe it is time for a shift in our thinking. Jesus outlined very clear thoughts regarding use of resources, and how we can better utilize what we have. Take a minute to read today’s blog—and ask yourself about your own mindsets!
Our country is in a big debate about how to manage our economic future. One side sees the economic problems of our country and proposes tax increases to fund programs that help people. The other side says we need to lower taxes to release the capital markets in order to stimulate the economy–and thus provide the funds necessary to help people. In one sense, they are both motivated by a wrong understanding. The basic mindset of Washington is the same as in our society: we need more money! This is amazing when you consider that America is the most affluent nation in the world, and even in history—think about that for a moment. Why does the richest country of all time think they have a money shortage? Is it inequality of distribution, or too much in the hands of too few? Regardless of the reasons, I believe we need a mindset change. The mindset I propose is the mindset of the kingdom of God.
In teaching the principles of the kingdom of God, Jesus wanted the people to understand they should never approach life from a beggarly perspective. One should approach life with the idea that you have enough. The question is, “What will you do with what you have?” In the parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25, the master distributes finances to his servants. The distribution was not equal. One servant was given 5, another was given 2, and another was only given 1 talent. The day came when they were asked to give an account. The first one had doubled his talents. Jesus said the response from his master was; “…‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” The one who had received the two talents did likewise, and heard the same words. However, the servant who had received one talent did not even invest his talent—he simply hid it. When confronted by his master he replied, “…‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’” The response of the Master was to call him a “wicked and lazy servant” and then take what he had and give it to the servant who now had 10.
It’s Time to Get Back on Track!
The truth is, both political views espoused in our country have the same idea—people need more money to cure what ails us. There are many political, and economic, arguments to back each side’s point of view, but the basis of our thinking is wrong. The United States is a country of immigrants, who escaped from their lands of bondage to a land of opportunity. However, it was a land of opportunity because of the resources available. The pioneers had to have faith, and a vision to tackle the great task of developing undeveloped resources. Pioneers came to a land with no infrastructure, and a lack of tools. There were wild animals, and often, angry adversaries as well. I am sure they thought it would be nice to have things from their homeland, but they were required to act from the basis of what was in their hands.
I am a pioneering pastor. With a small group of faithful people, we believed in the invisible God, who created all things visible. We understood that we had limited resources, and that we were at a great disadvantage compared to others churches at that time. By faith, we believed that God would supply our needs, but we often went without our wants. Many people visited in the early days and said, “Sorry, we are looking for this program, or that program, so we had to wave goodbye to them.” Unlike pioneers, they did not understand that if you work with what you have, God will supply the rest. Nothing we had in the beginning was state of the art. However, over time, we became what is now termed a megachurch, with expansive facilities.
Through what I have learned, I believe that, with faith and a good work ethic, everything is possible. I remind people of this frequently concerning church, but we need to remind ourselves as a country too. As a lover of history, I am reminded of President Reagan and his love for the vision, or spirit, of America. Many conservatives who proclaim fidelity to the original intent of the constitution have forgotten about that vision, or spirit! The Bible says, “The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” We must remember, not just the letter of our past, but the spirit as well. I believe that this is our role as believers in the present debate—let’s remind one another of our pioneering ways. As people are becoming so angry, they are literally killing each other. We must remember the need for the spirit of our heritage, as those who were willing to work with what we had until it became more. We can only do this if we have the Spirit of God guiding us to walk out principles that bring forth life!