In recent years, we’ve witnessed the world shifting like sand beneath our feet. We’ve been asking ourselves, “What’s happened to us?” “Is it ever going back to the way it used to be?” “What kind of adjustments do we need to make to prepare for the future?” People all around the world are experiencing a new level of insecurity. The things they placed their hope and confidence in have disappointed them. There is now a sense of fear, restlessness, and anxiety lingering just beneath the surface.
You may be asking yourself, “Where is the leader who’s going to show us the way out of this?” “Are we ever going back to the day when we had rising home equity values?” “Are we ever going back to the day when we could put our money into institutions or companies and trust them to operate with integrity?” “Will there be a time when the banks will not fail, when my job may not be going away or my hours cut back?” “Can I go to college, get a degree, and know that I’ll have a secure career path for the rest of my life?” Because of the dramatic changes, you now have an opportunity to adjust to a new reality.
Crown Financial Ministries wants to journey with you to make those adjustments. You can discover how to live in this world, facing the day-to-day challenges but also experiencing peace, joy, and contentment no matter what may happen in the future. The difference is discovering how to navigate the epic battle between Man’s Economy and God’s Economy.
In Man’s Economy, the basic premise is that your purposes, goals, significance, self-worth, ambition, and life energy are wrapped up in having money. In Man’s Economy, you want to make as much as you can, as quickly as you can, to retire as soon as you can, and enjoy a life of leisure as long as you can.
You’ve been told that if you have enough money, you can live free of fear and anxiety— comfortably insulated from what’s going on around you. In Man’s Economy, you place your hope in your net worth, assets, and ability to generate income. Money is the master of Man’s Economy.
In God’s Economy, you can be prepared for the future no matter what it may be. You now have the opportunity, by God’s grace, to reset your thinking, to be transformed, not conformed to the world (Romans 12:2). Learning to live in God’s Economy begins by understanding that His economy is made up of the divine integration of the mystery of His lordship, your stewardship, and your generosity.
When those things come together, you are transformed out of Man’s Economy by the renewing of your mind. You are transformed out of the cultural pressure and grip of this world, the battle that wants to take you captive to the traps of the world. God is the Master of His economy. When God is Lord, He is the object of your life. The Bible says in Matthew 6:33 to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Use your energy to seek His kingdom first. In God’s Economy, He is Lord of all and you seek Him as the object of your life energy, your purpose, your goals, your ambition, your significance.
The world will always be dynamic and changing and unstable, but God is constant. His constant nature is expressed in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money [in other words, keep your life free from buying into the lies of Man’s Economy] and be content with what you have [whether a lot or a little]” (NIV).
When you are content with what you have, you can rest in the promise found in the remainder of that verse: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” The Lord is telling you that in Man’s Economy, you are vulnerable; everything can leave and forsake you, except for Him. When you understand God’s lordship, your role and purpose as a steward becomes clear. You define success by whether or not you are faithful with what you have. In Man’s Economy, you define success by how much you have. The scorecard for success in Man’s Economy is how much you can accumulate.
God does not measure success by accumulation. In His economy, if you are faithful with little, you will be entrusted with much. You will be entrusted with “true riches” (Luke 16:11 NIV). Success in God’s Economy is faithfulness as a steward of whatever you have been given. All are welcome into that economy. There is no discrimination whether you have much or little.
When God is the first priority and the object of your life, you will be faithful to Him, steward whatever you have, and learn to be generous on every occasion. You will start to believe and practice the principle that it is better to give than to receive. In Man’s Economy it is better to receive, hoard, and have a big line of credit. These are all things the world says are required to have success and significance. In God’s Economy, He says it is better to be a giver.
When you understand the truths of God’s Economy and are transformed by what you believe, your behavior follows suit. You begin to apply the practical truths of handling money God’s way. You then experience the visible joy of being unique and distinct from the rest of the world. These distinctions become your testimony and visual message that there is a difference between having God integrated into all of your finances and trusting in yourself only. You will display joy on your face and peace in your heart when everyone else is wondering, “Where is our hope?” The fleeting hopes of this world will transfer into the eternal hope of Christ.
Are you different from your next-door neighbor in what you believe about money and how you steward it and how generous you are? Have your neighbors witnessed the difference in you? Living in God’s Economy keeps you from being trapped, worried, and grieving over something very temporal. Your joy becomes the attractive aroma of Christ. As you seize this opportunity, you can reset to discover God’s Economy. Man’s Economy will seek to influence and control you as long as you’re on this earth, but it will no longer have dominion over you.
You do have a leader and His name is Christ; He is unchanging; His principles work. They are valid and time tested, and they hold up in every storm. We have the privilege of sharing that with the world. It can change our cities, our nation, and the entire world if we apply the truth, model it, and live it out.
We encourage you to move away from defining your life by the standards of Man’s Economy and to become an ambassador for Christ in this generation. Our transformation will help to bring about the revival that our nation desperately needs, regardless of the circumstances we may face.
This article first appeared in the October 2009 edition of Money Matters, the Crown newsletter.
Originally posted 2/8/11.
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