The world economy is in some disarray, so we hear a lot about paying the national debt through “shared sacrifice” which means the government would like more of your money. We’ve been spending trillions to bail out everything from banks to nations, so now we’re running out of money and we have to print more. The bad news is that sacrifice won’t get us there. 15 trillion means every man woman and child owes $50,000 each. Every working person just needs to chip in another $110,000 each and we will be back to even… not happening, is it? The idea that we’re all going to chip in a little extra for a few years is a joke. It will take a few lifetimes!
The good news is that the free market economy can grow and easily pay off the 15 trillion. Our Gross National Product is 14 trillion, and has doubled since 1994. We could easily grow the economy enough to pay off the debt in 10 years – Other nations can as well; if we talk about growing instead of shared sacrifice. I’ve linked a great article by Johnathan Hoenig on this topic.
Here’s my real point. The solution isn’t sacrifice; quite the opposite, in fact. We depend upon people pursuing their heart’s desires, creating the products, services and wealth that is the natural result of free market capitalism. Governments cannot create jobs or wealth. They can only spend money and print money – both can be bad for the economy.
Roots – The next question is, “Where did we get this faulty ideology that sacrifice is an answer?” I want to suggest it comes from “religion” (not the Bible, not Jesus and not the church.) When things go wrong, there has always been a human tendency to offer up a sacrifice… it has also been called “penance.” It’s not just other people’s problem, it’s my problem. We all have a strong tendency to offer God a sacrifice of obedience when the going gets tough. The problem is that Jesus provided all the sacrifice ever needed. We might offer to sacrifice something we treasure, but it just doesn’t impress God.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, Heb 10:5 NIV
And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Heb 10:18 NIV
Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” Ps 40:6-8 NASU
Heart’s desire – God is looking for hearts that delight to do his will. That only happens when our will and his will are the same thing. The idea that Christianity is a life of serving, sacrifice, and obedience is simply false. We were created for good works (Eph 2:10), but we don’t do them because we have to. We do them because they are in our hearts… “We want to.” Our motive is love of God and his people, and our motivation comes from within our own dreams.
That’s why free market capitalism is a spiritual approach to economic wealth creation. It allows hearts to express themselves, and encourages individuals to pursue their dreams. It didn’t begin in the United States; it began in the heart of God.
Living Sacrifices – If our premise is that we shouldn’t live sacrificially, we must deal with this verse.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom 12:1-2 NIV
It is our goal to love Jesus, build the Kingdom and live for God. Our vocational ministry is an act of worship. We are Stewards of His Glory destined to do great things. The carnal mindset assumes that we should be obedient, sacrificial servants in order to please God. It’s just not true. That’s the religious pattern of the world. It is also the political pattern for every totalitarian system of government – elites rule, the rest of us obey. God just isn’t that way – we rule and reign with Him. In fact, until we allow ourselves to look for the will of God in the desires of our own heart, we never really find out what his good, pleasing, and perfect will is. You can’t find the will of God by having someone else tell you. It just doesn’t work that way. God insists on speaking to each of us himself. It’s that simple.
Discipleship – Pastors, teachers and mentors do tell young believers about the will of God. When we first get saved, we do so because we can hear the voice of God and sense His presence. Even the newest believer can hear His voice.
…his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4 NIV
So our goal in maturing isn’t to cultivate our obedience to a hierarchy; it’s to build on our ability to hear God’s voice. When I share with people in conferences or when I was a pastor, my goal was to prophetically say something that God was already saying to them. Even unsaved people can hear the resonance in God’s voice. We do tell people what God is saying, but we also know they can hear it themselves… and we help them hear clearly. That’s not the same as teaching obedience… it’s more like teaching freedom.
Help change the world – How to we solve the world economy? How do we build the Kingdom? How do we reach spiritual maturity and become fruitful and enjoy life? The answer is the same for all three. We each give ourselves permission to pursue the dream God put in our hearts. That’s how God’s economy works. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He works through you and I. All of creation is waiting for your dream to come true.
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. …and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Rom 8:19-21 NIV