In writing this column I had to choose which of many good ways to fulfill this assignment. I had to think through what might be the best way to approach the subject RC asks me to address. What Scripture applies? How can I avoid stretching a passage just to fill the necessary word count? What did God actually say and how should that word be applied?
Proverbs on Work & Wealth
Writing about why the state cannot save us is not like that. The Bible is full of reasons why the state cannot save us. The problem is in our hearts not our heads. But – just as a reminder — I knew that Proverbs has a lot to say about our responsibilities in this life and about how God blesses faithful living and work. Flopping my wife’s Bible open to early Proverbs it landed with the open leafs showing 12:13 through 15:14. Her Bible ends Revelation on page 1044. These two pages are two thousandths of that total.
The snippet of Scripture tells us that profit comes from labor “The sluggard lusteth, but his soul hath naught: but the soul of the diligent shall have plenty” (13:4) and that “…much increase cometh by the strength of the ox” (14:4), and “In all labor there is abundance: but the talk of the lips bringeth only want” (14:23). It also gives us some wisdom to help us figure out if more borrowing, taxing, and spending are likely to produce greater wealth, saying, “wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall increase” (13:11) and “In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble” (15:6).
Big Government’s Economic Solutions
Leviathan tells us that the means of our rescue is to have us all borrow and spend. There is constant talk about how consumers (that would be us) need to regain confidence and start buying things. Businesses supposedly need to borrow more, and housing loans need to increase. Leviathan’s president has also told us that higher taxes can be used to increase spending on new programs like health care. Tax, spend, and borrow are the supposed answers to the economic crises.
God’s Economic Solutions
However, God tells us just the opposite. His word always instructs us to be diligent workers and to save “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…” (13:22). The long term answer for recovery involves working and saving. We need to save not borrow. Saving creates business capital which is the foundation for all real business growth. If we want to escape the growing and ever-bursting bubbles of what some call the business cycle or maybe just the present trouble, we have to work, save, and invest what we saved. Only then can we have financial success without the deflating (and soon inflating) money/market mess we are experiencing.
Leviathan never was able to save us and cannot now save us. Borrowing, spending, and taxing will not save us. Big government has nothing because big government produces nothing and therefore cannot spend us into recovery. Printing more dollars does not create any wealth. None of us lacks paper with little pictures of presidents, but every week we do go and get carts full of groceries, tanks of gas, and clothes for our kids. The ruin of our currency only hurts us.
Big Government Tries to Produce Wealth without Labor
The central government and its banks are killing us even as they commit suicide. The banks are in a lot of trouble due to a variety of wicked practices most of which have to do with using their positions to create vast ledger based wealth but no real products or services. Everybody is expanding their portfolio but nobody is “going to work” so to speak. Banks have used their fractional reserve system to loan and reloan the same money over 25 times for every dollar deposited. Many of those funds were reinvested into a vast shadow economy made up of hedge funds, T bills, bonds and other investment tools that were ‘derived’ in ascending layers too complicated for anybody to ever follow.
The entire system has been devised to create wealth without laboring. The whole scheme is a confidence game. As long as everybody remains confident the expansion continues. As soon as, or more apropos, when, the public confidence begins to fail, as it inevitably does, then the jig is up. Markets begin to crash, the chips come off the table, and we find out who the losers are. It is most of us. The Federal Reserve bank owners created their reserve notes out of thin air to begin with so they have nothing to lose, and by stealthy chicanery have everything to gain.
Solutions for Christian Families
So what do we do? Well, we can still try not to borrow and spend. God has always warned us to avoid heavy debt and to work and save. Nothing has changed. We need to obey His wisdom. Beyond this we need to give thanks every day. God has blessed us not just with houses and lands but with eternal life. We have hope, we always have hope, and we have citizenship in a richer nation. We have the bread and the wine of the fellowship of the saints, and we have Jesus. Even if we tumble into poverty we are rich because we have Jesus.
The worship of money (and its security, buying power, ability to free us from drudgery) is idolatry. The nation needs to repent of this as do we personally. More money will not save us. God will save us. God has saved us. God is saving us. I am calling the collapsing markets “the great unwinding.” This has been coming for a long time. A strong belief in the sovereign rule and grace of God in my life encourages me daily. We need to keep going back to the Scriptures. Pray for the church and pray daily for the saints. Being thankful and doing the right things every day are necessary disciplines for all of us. We have a better ‘reserve note’ reserving a room for us in heaven.
This article was first published in Every Thought Captive magazine, 2009.