Human beings have been conditioned over millennia to keep our eyes on money. When we’re born into the world we are tabula rasa, blank slates. To children, things don’t have a cost – the world is an open adventure, waiting to be explored.
As we grow up we begin to learn about money. We see the adults around us use it. We see the role it plays in their lives. If God wills it, the adults around us have enough money. Note that “enough” money is just that – enough. Not too much nor too little. We learn to have a respect for money while not letting it dominate our lives. Whether we have money or not we can abide in the love of God. We can serve God as best we can, whether we have money or not.
That’s a healthy relationship with money.
However, if the adults around us experience scarcity of money, as children we pick up on that scarcity, unconsciously. If we see the adults around us attributing their suffering to a lack of money, we will become convinced at an unconscious level that money is the solution to all suffering. When we have money we will be happy. When we don’t have it we will suffer. We then become slaves to money, we allow it to dictate our choices; we surrender our values in its name.
Rather than choosing to serve God with all we have, we choose to serve money. That’s when we get trapped in the proverbial “rat race”.
Rest assured, there’s a way out of the rat race. And the way out doesn’t necessarily involve earning millions of dollars. The way out is by becoming a participant in the Economy of God.
What Is The Economy Of God?
It’s the real economy. The one which transcends all of man’s attempts at categorizing and pricing creation. It’s the economy that keeps trees growing, fruit ripening, birds singing, clouds raining and children laughing. It’s an economy of limitless abundance.
It can’t be regulated, because it can’t be measured. It can only be perceived with the heart. It’s God’s gift to all of us. It’s love, it’s giving.
The currency of this economy is giving. There’s no greater gift from God than his son Jesus Christ. By accepting Jesus in our hearts we become full-fledged participants in the Economy of God. After all, to accept Jesus is to accept God – you have to accept God if you’re going to participate in His economy. There’s no other way to have a relationship with God than through Jesus.
I know this because I’ve tried other ways of having a relationship with God. They didn’t work.
The Currency Is Giving
Everyone who accepts Jesus can fully participate in the Economy of God, because everyone has something to give. Since each of us is a unique expression of the Creator, we each have something unique to give to the world, in service to others.
The world is incessant in conditioning us to believe that every interaction with others is a transaction. The world convinces us to give only when we stand to gain.
This starts from the time we’re children in school. At school, we’re taught to surrender our time and attention in return for a grade. Fast forward a couple of decades and we’ve graduated from higher education, totally convinced that the only way to live on Earth is to surrender our time and attention to a job in return for money.
We give so we may receive.
Giving to receive partially locks us out of the Economy of God (we can never be fully locked out). Because the only valid currency in the Economy of God, the coin of the realm, is giving. Not giving to receive, but giving – without expecting anything in return. In other words, selfless giving or egoless giving.
There is no better example of selfless giving than Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That’s why you can only fully participate in the Economy of God after you accept Jesus in your heart. How can you know what selfless giving is if you haven’t learned from He who sacrificed the most for us?
Love Is Selfless Giving
Human beings are capable of love because God first loved us. God gave us the breath in our lungs, the sun which nourishes the Earth, the fresh water which runs in the rivers and fills all lakes and the plants and animals which sustain us. God gave these blessings to us without expecting anything in return, because God loves us. He created our soul and gave us life, for free, no questions asked, no strings attached.
Even more significantly, God loves us so much He gave us His only begotten son, so that we may have eternal life through Him.
We are alive thanks to the love of God. Therefore, we can only be fully alive and truly love others when we love God. Jesus made this clear in Mark 12:28-31:
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answred Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The love of God is the beginning of all love. This is very different from the message of modern-day psychology which tells us that love begins with “self-love”, which is a dangerous lie. You can’t love yourself, because love is a one way street, it flows outwards, never inwards. Like the light of the sun – it’s always giving, never taking. It’s certainly not self-giving, which is self-ishness.
Giving To Receive Is Not Love
A parent’s love for his/her child is a perfect example of love. Parents put their children’s needs before theirs, oftentimes sacrificing their own well-being for the sake of their children. Parents do this without expecting a reward; they do it because they love their children. Parental love is alive and well even today, when many of us have been deceived into believing that giving to receive is love.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fallen for the trap of believing giving to receive is love. I did it for years in my professional life. I believed that exchanging my time and energy to the scientific establishment in exchange for money and professional acclaim was love. I’m also guilty of giving to receive in interpersonal relationships.
We can tell when we are giving to receive when we’re thinking about the reward we will get in return for our giving. Rather than focusing on the act of giving and serving others with all our mind and heart, we focus on what we’ll get in exchange for giving. There is no place where this giving-to-receive attitude is more prevalent than in the dating scene, where men take women on dates in exchange for sexual intimacy.
That’s not love. It’s selfishness masquerading as love.
When we reject Christ and on top of that act selfishly, we are locked out of the Economy of God.
When we’re locked out of the Economy of God we are left with the economy of man.
The Economy Of Man
The economy of man is for people who give to receive. It’s a dim reflection of a reflection of the Economy of God. The economy of man is drudgery, repetitiveness, boredom and burnout. Sadly, it’s where most people in the rich world operate today.
The Economy of God is vibrant, dynamic, engaging and energizing. It’s for those who love God and selflessly give. Participating in the Economy of God does not guarantee us material wealth. But it does guarantee spiritual wealth. With spiritual wealth we have enough; without it, we are never satisfied no matter what we have.
For example, a participant in the economy of man might have multiple houses and fancy cars, together with relentless stress, loneliness and addiction issues. He might outwardly appear to have everything anyone could ever want while constantly living for the next best thing. He might be unhappy with his job, but since the salary allows him to enjoy all the comforts he uses to numb his discomfort, he puts up with it. He’s locked into the economy of man, giving to receive.
Someone who has accepted Jesus is a full participant in the Economy of God. He might have a simple house in the country, or even a small home in the outskirts of a city or a tiny apartment. He might not have health insurance or even a car to transport himself. But he gives without expecting to receive. He’s a participant in the Economy of God, and so God blesses him with things that money can’t buy: a kind heart, peace of mind and a deep sense of purpose every day. His days are marked with fellowship and laughter, even when times are tough.
These are two real-life examples of people I know. Who would you rather be?
Tap Into The Economy Of God
The economy of man solves our animal needs. The wealth we acquire through it can be used to solve material challenges; housing, clothing, food and water. But it does nothing for our spiritual needs. In order to solve those we need to shift into the Economy of God. Interestingly, solving our spiritual needs can also solve our animal needs, too. As we are eternal souls first and animals second.
And how do we move into the Economy of God? First, love God by accepting His son Jesus Christ in your heart. Second, love your neighbor as yourself.
In prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, ask God to make you a blessing for others. Do this regularly, in a quiet, private space and God will grant your prayer. God will show you new ways to serve others and will give you the energy and initiative to do so.
It’s pretty wild.
When we love others we put their needs before ours. Everyone has their own story and perspective, so everyone sees different things. Consequently, everyone has a unique power to serve others. No one else can see what you can see, so no one else can serve as you can serve.
God made us to serve.
For example, God gave me the gift of listening. I’m not always a good listener, but I usually do my best to give others the space to express themselves without judgment.
Speaking about things to an attentive listener allows us to process them for ourselves. It gives us clarity, especially if the listener asks questions which helps us clarify our perspective. This is one way I serve. It comes to me naturally and I enjoy doing it. That’s how I know I’m participating in the Economy of God.
You Never Know How You’ll Be Blessed
When we tap into the Economy of God we also tap into the gifts He gave us. Our God-given gifts may or may not have anything to do with what we studied. What all our gifts have in common is that when we express them it’s to serve others, never to take. Through our gifts we leave others better off than when we first encountered them.
Life is a network. Each of our interactions with another human being will have unimaginable manifold consequences. Each of our actions ripples across the fabric of human relationships which make up society.
Because of this, when we participate in The Economy of God, we never know when or how God will bless us. You could do something for someone and never see them again in your life. That doesn’t stop God from blessing you through someone else. When you follow Jesus and let go of expectations of reward for your giving, you open yourself up to God blessing you in an a way you would never expect.
And that blessing will be exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. That’s another characteristic of the Economy of God, there’s no waste. It’s all coordinated by the Almighty, which you can be sure knows infinitely more than you do. He knows you better than you know yourself.
Sometimes curses can be turned into blessings. If you pray to God for guidance you’ll see how to turn a curse into a blessing. What appear to be curses at first; a rough breakup, an unexpected layoff, a terrible disease, can be turned into blessings with God’s guidance.
You Might Be Taken Advantage Of
Serving others fully and openly may eventually lead us to being taken advantage of. It’s the reality of the world we live in.
Worldly advice will recommend you put up barriers after being taken advantage of. But when we put barriers between ourselves and others we effectively block off our capacity to give. Doing so cuts us off from the Economy of God. There is always a risk to giving; doing so leaves us vulnerable to those we give to. The more we give the more risk we incur.
To live is to risk; whatever we choose, to put up barriers or not, will come with risk. If we put up barriers we will risk not giving all that we can in service to others; we risk living a fearful life.
Conversely, if we choose to remain open, we might be taken advantage of again, but we will be certain we gave as much as we could to others while we could. And the more we risk by giving to others the more we live as God wants us to live, by loving our neighbors as we do ourselves.
In the end, it’s our choice. To love with or without barriers.
What will you choose?
Final Thoughts On The Economy Of God
I’ve been a follower of Jesus for a short time, less than two months. However, in that time my eyes have been opened to the joy of giving without expectation of reward. I thought I lived that way before becoming a Christian, I can now see that I was off the mark. If you want to learn to give from the heart without expecting anything in return, there is no better teacher than Jesus Christ.
I’ve tried out many philosophies and spiritual paths over the years and have encountered both truth and lies in the process. I’m unashamed to admit that I’ve been misled in some ways. However, in a little over a month of following Jesus, I have encountered a solid rock of truth upon which I can stand to brave the changing currents of the world (and boy oh boy how the world is changing!).
I have accepted the truly selfless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for our sins so we may be free. Because of that, I now know and understand how to selflessly give. I am an active participant in the Economy of God. I didn’t know how to do that before accepting Christ.
Humans learn by example and there’s no better example out there than Christ. He is real and He is the only teacher who will always steer you true. When you open your heart to Him you risk losing who you are to be born again in Him. That can be scary but also exciting, I speak from experience.
What new shores will you discover once you’re rooted in Christ?
I invite you today to talk to a Christian. You have your slavery to lose and your freedom to gain.
Glory be to God.