Faith and the Present Economy

Faith and the Present Economy

Our whole government, spurred on by many private actors, gives its efforts to material prosperity, and by this concern with prosperity above all else has conditioned the citizenry to have similar priorities. And that concern makes remorseless war upon the life of the Spirit.

“You cannot serve both God and money.”
Luke 16:13

When our nation is called to give an account at the Last Judgment, surely this statement will be among those that stands against us. For ours is preeminently a commercial and financial society, one whose course is taken up with the making and spending of money, and the material comforts it affords. A citizen’s chief activities are production (if part of the workforce) and consumption, and government policy at all levels aims to provide for a citizen’s ability to do these two things. This shows in a thousand ways, from subsidizing vocational training to unemployment assistance to myriad welfare programs.

Whether these things are economically sensible is not our concern here. Our point is that this preoccupation with money tends to predominate all other things. Preoccupation with material concerns suffocates concern for things of the Spirit (Matt. 13:22). Preoccupation with the things of this life drives out thought of eternity (Lk. 12:16-21). And preoccupation with the kingdom of Mammon deprives one of allegiance to the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:24).

It is on this point that we stumble terribly at present. We panicked and did considerable harm to our economy by our initial response to the Chinese sickness outbreak, and we then panicked yet further and pursued a broad array of measures to ‘build back better’ and mitigate all the harm of our initial response. All of this has been immensely detrimental to the spiritual well-being of both the church and the nation.

For whatever their intention, all our economic measures have conditioned people to think in terms of finances. The nation is awash – not merely in the pronouncements of politicians or the reporting of the press, but in the everyday speech of the common people – with incessant and anxious talk of inflation, interest rates, housing costs, wages, the unemployment rate, and so forth. All this is connected with material prosperity; and while all of it has long featured in American life, the economic crisis occasioned by our initial panic seems to have raised its pitch and made it even more all-encompassing than previously. Now one can scarcely have a conversation without it devolving into a discussion of such things.

Read More

Scroll to top