[A] rock-star preaches capitalism. Wow. Sometimes I hear myself and I just can’t believe it. But commerce is real. . . . Aid is just a stopgap. Commerce—entrepreneurial capitalism—takes more people out of poverty than aid.
Georgetown University Speech
Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.
Work supplies the physical, psychological, artistic, and religious needs of communities extending to the ends of the earth. Furthermore, through work, we create abundance out of which we help meet the needs of others.
[Economics are merely] the social system through which people organize their work and dispose of its fruits.
Of the thirty-seven parables in the Synoptic Gospels, thirty-two mention some form of work-related activity as part of the storyline.
“Examining Jesus’ Inclusion of Work Roles in His Parables,” Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, accessed February 10, 2017, 4.
Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. . . . We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever increasing pace.
Quoted in Andrew Martin, “Consume, Consume, Consume with the False Promise of Happiness,” Collective Evolution , July 17, 2014,
God’s ideal economy banks on the idea that you shall know your neighbor who is suffering and that you shall be compelled to do something about it.
In 2008 the CEO of Walmart made as much in one hour as many of his full-time employees made in a year. Are some people really worth that much more than others? We would most likely say no, but our economy says otherwise. We talk about the immorality of the poor but never the wealthy, and this is very much on purpose.
Looking through the lens of Holy Scripture, human work must be seen first and foremost as value contribution, not economic compensation. We can have a flourishing, fruitful life even if we don’t get a paycheck, because fruitfulness is about cultivating blessing from the created order. Fruitfulness means adding value and bestowing honor to others in and through our work. Fruitfulness is building up and utilizing our capacity for influence, access, and wealth so we might tangibly express our neighborly love. We may retire from our paycheck, but we never retire from work. We never retire from the privilege and responsibility of neighborly love.
An important aspect of being an image bearer of God is to work and to create value by serving others within our collaborative economic system.
R.C. Sproul Jr.
Just as the church needs members with different skills, our world must have various forms of labor, interdependent and thus valuable. A world full of ministers would be without churches, bread for the Lord’s Supper, and printed Bibles to read.”
Ultimately it is economic prosperity which makes possible for billions of dollars to be devoted to the less fortunate.
Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy (New York: Basic Books, 2001), 213.
The most fundamental assumption in economics is scarcity. This, in effect, assumes away abundance. Thus, most mainstream economists are not prepared to deal with abundance. They have few concepts that explain it. They have no equations that describe it. Confronted with it, they fall back on inadequate theories based on scarcity.
Dallas Willard and Gary Black Jr.
The task of Christian spokespersons, leaders, and professionals is to exemplify and teach foundational traits of the good life Jesus manifests. But this must also include the more specific traits required in the public domain—industriousness, self-control, moderation, and responsibility for oneself and others. That is the responsibility and posture of love. The human drive to be self-supporting can be tied to a determination to be productive in order to bless others.
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