Real Economy

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:27

In the superb movie, Cinderella Man, Russell Crowe, plays James Braddock, a boxer who loses the heavyweight title after a heartbreaking 15 round decision and subsequently loses everything to bank failures after the stock market crash of 1929. His family barely manages to survive for five years of the great depression when a last minute cancellation gives him a second chance. After a few wins he finds himself about to face the heavyweight champion, Max Baer and a reporter asks him what’s different – why is he winning now? James replies, “this time, I know what I’m fighting for?” When asked what that is, his reply is, “Milk”.

Unlike the marketing slogan, “Got milk”, Braddock means he is fighting for his family – not for excess and indulgence but for survival – for what is essential. But the Christian parody that hijacks the dairy industry’s slogan restating it, “Got Jesus?” also speaks to the truly essential but not just for survival or the temporal but for a thriving and eternal economy that links the day-to-day with the everlasting. Jesus does this on many occasions – “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.”, or “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’" or Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Even the simplest gesture – can have profound impact on eternity. Chris Rice is his powerful song, “The Power of a Moment” pens, “I get so distracted by my bigger schemes. Show me the importance of the simple things like a word, a seed, a thorn, a nail, and a cup of cold water.”

“Giving is a giant lever positioned on the fulcrum of this world,” writes Randy Alcorn in The Treasure Principle, “allowing us to move mountains in the next world. Because we give, eternity will be different – for others and for us.” It makes me picture an apothecary scale with our relatively small giving here causing mountains and cities to be formed in heaven – Christ being the arm between the two economies. This scale is amazing because the fulcrum is so close to the temporal and the arm is short on this side but the weight of glory added in Christ lifts the long arm in eternity to amazingly dramatic proportions. “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times." Mark 4:8. All it takes is the miracle of death and resurrection – Thank you Jesus.

Earl Nightingale dramatically portrays the power of the mind in his famous “Lead the Field” audio series. He points out that a man’s body, even the most developed, is puny compared to that of many animals but the mind can be developed infinitely. Even so, the impact available in our spiritual life makes our mind look as puny as our body. But when both the body and mind use their entire faculty to impact the spiritual, we understand what St. Paul tells to his protégé, Timothy: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Tim 4:8 and we find that, like Paul, we want to say, “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:27

Most people don’t invest in the future at all – consumed with possessions in the immediate. But my financial advisor friends talk about the value of the company matched 401K, compound interest, the tax-free Roth IRA but the return on all that pales by comparison to the matched and provided weight of glory in Christ. [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! Romans 8:19 AMP

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