Simple Economics

October 1, 2008

Have you ever tried to untangle a mess of fishing line that has popped off your open face reel?  It’s tedious work.  Kind of like trying to sort out our country’s economic situation.   

Financial dunderheads like me need it simple.  So here it is, in equation form, the simplest I can state our problem:      

            a + x = (?). 

Allow me to explain.  a is the current investment nightmare (the only known variable in this equation).  x is what we should do about it.  (?) is what will result when we add x to a.  So far, so good.

But here’s where it gets tricky.  Depending on what value we assign x, the outcome of the equation will change.  Some people recently wanted to stand for a $700 billion bailout package.  Other people said that would lead to some obscene long-term consequences for (?), and they let their senators know how they felt about it.  So x and the resultant (?) continue to be hotly debated.   

What do you think x should be?  Do you have any idea how (?) will be affected if we did your x?  What makes you so sure?  That’s my problem, anyway.  I’m sure about very few things in this economic crisis.  That’s why I’ve been reminding myself of several things I do know.

About a…

  • I must examine my life for greed, and repent if necessary (1 Cor 6:9-10).  Greed got our country into this mess.  Loaners lent and borrowers borrowed irresponsibly due to greed.    
  • I must at all times keep my life free from the love of money, cultivating contentment with what I have (Heb 13:5).  Am I living within my means?  What do I need to change or sell or give or discontinue in order to honor God with my possessions?

About x…

  • I must offer supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for our leaders, that they would make wise decisions that preserve peace and enable the gospel to thrive (1 Tim 2:1-6).
  • As others are trusting in chariots and horses [in this case, American resilience], I must trust in the name of the Lord my God (Ps 20:7). 

About (?)…   

  • If all goes wrong, I must be able to say that to live is Christ (Phi 1:21), and that even if my flesh and my heart and my 401K should fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Ps 73:26).  As C. S. Lewis said, “He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God alone.”
  • If all goes well, I must still live by faith, looking forward to the city that has solid foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Heb 11:8-10).

Our country may have a hard time getting the fishing line back on the spool.  But, Christians, we can endure and work and pray and live with hope anyway.  God is still our rock, the gospel is still full of grace and power, and the new heavens and new earth are still our final inheritance.   


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