Potential Pitfalls of Profit, Prosperity, and Poverty

In the course of our class, 9 weeks worth, we have explored the basis for a biblical view of economics.  We began by positioning economics as something worthy of study and as pervasive as it relates to all that we do and endeavor to do in the home, workplace, wherever.  Building on that, our class focused on the specific components that make up an economy, of which there are millions of little and big economies around.  We’ve explored private property, transactions of our time, talent, and treasure, money, debt, poverty and welfare, and the command forbidding us to steal.  Approaching this class, I’ve done so from a position of freedom.  What I mean by that is that I believe the heart of what we have discussed is that we are bound and compelled to live in obedience to the Word, and beyond that we are free to pursue, create, work, risk, fail, pass on wealth, give wealth, give time, give energy, and succeed. 

In all of this study and discussion there’s an underlying assumption that still it’s better to be rich than otherwise.  That all this freedom, ideally leads to riches and wealth, which we then translate into comfort, security, peace, your best life now.  Freedom is great, riches and wealth can be a blessing, but just as often, if not more so, they are a curse.  When we look at the scriptures, we see no shortage of warnings against the rich and plenty of encouragements for the poor.  If we look out at our Christian Culture today, and throughout history, we’ll find groups of Christians that wholeheartedly believe the wealth they possess is a gift and blessing from God, a sign even that God is on their side and favors them “Prosperity Gospel”.  In the same turn you’ll find groups of Christians that, far from the prior, believe that their poverty is their calling and in a sense a blessing to live like Jesus did, without a house or whatever.  Both positions are fraught with potential problems, but if you find yourself in the middle, you aren’t safe either.  Regardless of your wealth and view of it, the point is that the focus is too often on the material, on the created and not the Creator.  We are idolaters, and make idols out of wealth, comfort, security, houses cars, lack, need, humble houses, humble cars.

Understanding that we are by nature, sinful, there is not a safe place to reside economically.  Whether we are rich or poor, we are at risk. Whether we have plenty or are in want, we create idols and ignore God.  Whether we are in a nice neighborhood or in a slum, our old nature tempts us to turn from God and trust in anything but Him.  It seems prudent then to spend a class thinking about the pitfalls of both prosperity and poverty.   So as not post a terribly long blog, I’ll break this one up.  Expect to see the pitfalls of the “Pursuit of Riches,”  “Possession of Riches,” and “Absence of Riches.”  Thanks for reading,

Landon Vick

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by BradleyT on November 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    If you had made it “Pursuit, possession, and paucity” you’d have had a good 3 point Presbyterian sermon AND alliteration.



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