The Bible and Economics (2)

Organic Growth and Patience

The Biblical account of the sequence of the creation week has crucial implications for economics. God created the environment before He created man. He created the heavenly orbs for the purposes of man. Man inherited a ready-made creation. In short, grace precedes law in history. Even before man appeared, the creation was designed to meet his needs.

This view of law and grace rests on the concept of God’s cosmic purpose and His absolutely sovereign eternal decree. Man entered a world that was good, yet it was undeveloped. It was good, yet it could be made better. It is man’s God-given task to make it better.[1]

Responsibility is a massive concept for the human heart to consider, and consider and embrace it, we must. Whatever our sphere of responsibility under God, whether in the family, the church, the State, employment, or as members of the community, we are obliged to find out from God’s Word how we should conduct our affairs as His faithful stewards, and proceed accordingly.

Jesus explained to the disciples before the Passover, that the owner of the house

…will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there (Luke 22:12).

Then at the Passover meal, He explained that

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you (Jn.14:2).

So at the Creation of the world, before the Passover, and when He ascended to heaven, He prepared a place for His people. For each of these places, He gave His people His Word, so that they are not dropped into a new place entirely without knowledge. There is a measure of predictability about the world He has placed us in, so we can proceed with confidence.

And in all this, we can be encouraged that “great are the works of the Lord; they are studied by all who delight in them,” and that “He has made known to His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations” (Ps.111:2, 6).

Yes, the world He made has been seriously affected by sin. Yes, the world presently is numerically dominated by people who are in rebellion against God. Yes, the church has been seriously negligent in its responsibilities before God. This simply means we have some things to contend with, and some work to do.

But in all of this, we’d best remember that He has prepared the world for His people. That means there should not be one area of human action where His Word is not utterly predominant. Thus believers must become much more conversant with what He commands us in His Word, and set about to do it. Most certainly, this involves economics, and our work.

Christians must be patient in this. It’s extraordinarily easy to identify problems and serious shortcomings in the church and the world around us, and nearly anyone can do this. But it’s another thing altogether, to seriously and systematically begin a process that will address these issues, with the possibility of real change that honours God and His Word.

The Biblical image that Jesus gave us, helping us to understand this process, is an agricultural one:

       …first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head (Mk.4:28).

This means that momentous change doesn’t happen overnight, but has to be accomplished steadily, over a long period of time. (The Puritan Revolution in England took 150 years). We must be content with quiet, steady growth in the church, founded upon a growth in responsibility, accountability and obedience amongst God’s people.

It took Noah and his sons 120 years to build an ark, which they and their wives required to survive the only world-wide flood in human history. Therefore, we must be taking a long-term view, not trying to impose on God our time-table for what we think must happen.

Our Lord only had a ministry of three and a half years, but He cautioned His impetuous brothers by saying,

My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune (Jn.7:6).

Conclusion:

Patience amongst God’s people may not seem to be an exciting attribute, but it is a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal.5:22), and is actually essential. Good wine, really does take time. Yes, the hare does have sensational speed for a while, but it’s the tortoise who has the attitude and application to get the job done.

Who will you identify with?

 

 

[1] Gary North, “Christian Economics in One Lesson,” 2016, I, ‘Knowledge and Dominion.’

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