Kingdom Economics- Part 1
God Isn’t a Socialist… Sorry About That.
Proverbs 11: 24-27
24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
26 The people curse him who holds back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.
27 Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,
but evil comes to him who searches for it.
If God were an economist, which discipline would he most closely align with? Socialism? Fascism? Capitalism? Or some mix of these? Would he appreciate Bernie Sanders economic goals? Would He “feel the Bern”?
I’m not sure if you’ve ever wondered that, I know I have… but, perhaps I’m a nerd 🙂
I do not think that there is a FAITHFUL and honest Biblical Scholar who would disagree that the Biblical economy is most closely aligned with Capitalism, given the modern economic conditions. However, it is important to note that the Biblical economy was probably unlike Capitalism in many ways in that it was an agrarian society, where farming and the family economy was more central than industry and trade. In that setting, the “Traditional” Economy is more fitting, where the family was central as a “company” of sorts. Beliefs, theology, tradition, and customs play a core part in the overall economy. Not so much with Capitalism.
But, given the modern world, Capitalism is the nearest to the Biblical model.
To some, that is offensive.
They picture Jesus as a socialist, as someone who believed that the government should never allow a person to go hungry, or suffer without healthcare, or live without shelter. After all, He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and cared for those in need.
But, let me ask you, when did Jesus ever ask the government to do any of these things? At what point did he preach about the government’s role in caring for our neighbors? What part of the Sermon on the Mount did he proclaim a doctrine of high taxes, forced labor, governmental controlled welfare, and our submission to such a system?
That’s right… never.
Jesus wasn’t a socialist. Glad we could get that out-of-the-way.
What did Jesus do to care for those in need?
You guessed it… HE took care of it. He didn’t wait for a non-profit, a politician, or another good-willed citizen to take action. He did something about it, Himself. And, perhaps that is the problem with us…. We don’t know how to be generous… We don’t know what it is to INVEST in people and in the economy.
In general, the trend I see in our society is a rapid increase in takers, and a dramatic decline in investors. People in our society love benefits. They love “free stuff”. They want things for cheap. That is why sites that offer promotional discounts, coupons and highly discounted items are mammoths. People want to “take” something for less than the seller deserves. I am guilty of that myself! We love to “take”, but we are repulsed at the idea of investing in anything.
That’s a problem.
Tomorrow we will discuss the principles of the Biblical Economy, but first we’ve got to understand the “type” of economy that it is.
- It is not built upon or around kings, princes, or politicians.
No third-party entity is heavily involved in policing it. While there are examples of Biblical passages that teach a King’s role in delivering and ensuring a just society, it is a stretch to say that the Bible teaches that a King or government should regulate and control an economy aside from his personal economy.
- The family and the Church is a vital “player” in the economy.
With the family being the supply of goods, the Church and her teachings guiding economical morality and ethics, in addition to the Church being the heartbeat of the overall community/society.
- It is an economy of choice, not of control.
You get to choose what to do with your assets, your skills, and your opportunities… and you reap the consequences for those decisions. No person makes those decisions for you. No one is forcing you to choose a “path”, or to give up portions of your assets to a pool or resources to be distributed to the people.
- It is a “market” driven economy
Where prices and values are driven by workmanship, demand, honesty, quality, and generosity. The market determines the allocation of resources, wealth, and opportunity. And, your skills, character, and Godliness is what enables you to capitalize on the allocation of that wealth.
- Welfare is a function of the market and personal choice.
No entity should control the distribution of goods and care to the poor and destitute aside from the Church. Rather, the market and individuals make determinations and decisions to provide and protect those in need.
We wonder why our economy is struggling. Could it be possible that it is due to our increasing faithlessness to the above Biblical Economy? I believe so.
Now, quickly, I’d like to say that the “driving” emotions and desires behind socialism are often genuine and important. There are certainly great injustices that are present in our society that need to be addressed, but those injustices are caused at the personal and individual level, therefore they should be corrected at that level.
People must care for the poor, not the government. People must choose who warrants welfare, not a politician detached from the normal lives of everyday citizens. People must love God enough to care for their neighbors, to not show partiality, and to not discriminate in a way that is ungodly.
Suddenly, we alleviate the civic issues in our society. We eliminate the need to drug test welfare recipients, because their neighbors make the decision as to if they merit assistance. Suddenly, the market takes care of these ridiculous economic boycotts, civil suits, and the vile trend of politicians who manipulate the economy via their controls to serve their activist agenda.
The mess we are in is not going to be fixed at the governmental level, rather it will be further weakened, and so will the people.