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What is the Economy of God?

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It starts with a dream…
Several years ago, I had a dream in which I was standing at an ATM machine. I was in line for several minutes, only to put my card in and watch as the machine spit out American tens, fives and ones and then nothing!  I wanted to panic as I had anticipated getting twenties and more money. 
Suddenly, I looked to my right and saw another ATM machine with a man clothed in white standing beside it. There was no lineup and I knew I needed to move over to that machine.  As I then stood in front of it, the dream suddenly ended.  I sensed the Lord speaking to me “I want you to step into My economy”.
 
This dream remains with me and has caused me to ponder what exactly does this phrase ‘economy of God’ mean?  While I do continue my quest to understand this term, here are a few of my thoughts so far.
 
Three things I consider when thinking through this term ‘economy’ are: 
1) The dictionary defines ‘economy’ as “careful management of available resources” and includes such concepts as thrift, providence, prudence, careful budgeting, saving, restraint, and frugality; 
2) In the Greek it pertains to “stewardship or administration related to a household”; 
3) Throughout the New Testament we hear Jesus speaking about His Kingdom having come. He often spoke about it within the context of servants being judged for their stewardship of what has been entrusted to them by their master i.e. Luke 16:1-13. 
 
My sense is that God is looking for us to have a far greater perspective in managing our finances than the immediate here and now. He wants us to consider an eternal perspective. I believe He is my King and He rules over a Kingdom as described in His Word.  As a believer in Him, I am a part of this Kingdom. I believe He has asked us to work in partnership with Him in stewarding or administrating this Kingdom as He leads and directs –in this case from a financial perspective.  I have come to realize that all that He has given me belongs to Him – the full 100%. 
So this begs the question – how does He ask me to steward these financial resources?
 
First, our Lord and King makes it clear in Scripture that He is the source of all things, including our finances. He then lays out principles for us in both the Old and New Testament that include such areas as debt, savings, tithes, offering and gifts. We follow these principles in obedience but He also desires us to seek His leading as part of the process. 
We ask Him what would bless and give Him joy in our financial stewardship. This question not only relates to where we tithe and release our offerings and gifts but also includes how we spend and manage our own personal finances in day-to-day living. 
 
In essence, the economy of God is being aware and intentional in how you and I administrate the financial resources He puts at our disposal.  I believe He releases financial creativity within us and blesses us for the healthy functioning of our families and communities.  Included in this process is a joyful and active engagement with Him, a partnering, an asking for direction and guidance, a releasing in obedience, a seeking to bless, and, ultimately, seeing fruit borne and the Kingdom of God extended.  This will have eternal rewards as His Word says.
 
I hope my musings have challenged you to consider whether you have entered into the economy of God
Ray Borg is the National Director of Compass Canada, a worldwide, non-profit, interdenominational ministry that teaches people of all ages how to handle money based on the Bible.
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The Fiscal Cliff

Dear Friends,

After months of playing political chicken, Congress managed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” at the very last moment by passing what is inaccurately titled the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. How is this going to impact you and me over the short run?

First, all workers will pay higher taxes this year because the payroll tax is now increased by 2%. This means that a person or couple earning $50,000 will pay an additional $1,000 in payroll taxes. On the flip side, the Bush-era tax cuts have been made permanent. This means that tax rates, capital gains taxes, and tax on dividends in 2013 will be the same as last year for all but those individuals earning more than $400,000. The legislation also provides some economic certainty for small businesses and entrepreneurs to count on which, thankfully, should translate into more job creation.

What Congress failed to address was our out-of-control spending. Remember, Congress intentionally created the Continue reading The Fiscal Cliff

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Occupy Wall Street

Dear Friends,

There’s been so much in the news lately about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that I thought it would be helpful to try to bring some perspective.

First, I am exceedingly thankful we live in a country where there is freedom of speech. It’s a precious birthright in our nation that’s not possible in many places in the world today. I’m grateful the occupiers and all Americans have the freedom to assemble and to peacefully communicate their concerns.

Second, with the stubbornly high unemployment and underemployment rates, I can understand the frustration that so many of our citizens feel. It can be scary to be out of work with a family depending upon you to meet their needs. A natural reaction is to look for someone to blame—whether it be big government or big business.

Third, I believe that capitalism has the best  potential of being the best economic system in the world because it fosters individual entrepreneurism. The financial back bone of our country is small business. Millions of our citizens have had the courage to start small businesses because that is the DNA of our country.

But for capitalism to actually be the best economic system, it must be what I call compassionate capitalism. And the only way to foster compassionate capitalism is when it’s practiced from a biblical perspective. This foundation rests on individuals recognizing that God owns their business (Psalm 24:1), and they are simply managers of His business.  And as managers, they are required to faithfully operate their business and conduct their financial affairs according to the Owners wishes as revealed in the Bible. “It is required in stewards [managers] that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).

Fourth, what does the Bible tell us about hard work and the individual responsibility to take care of our own needs? What does it say about caring for the needs of others?

The Bible encourages us to work hard to provide for our needs and the needs of our family: “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest” (Exodus 34:21).  “The precious possession of a man [and a woman] is diligence” (Proverbs 12:27). “If a man will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

The Bible also clearly encourages us to be compassionate and generously help the needy—whether the income is earned by a salaried employee or the business: “Let the man who has two tunics share with him who has none; and let him who has food do likewise” (Luke 3:11). “Do not merely look after your own personal interests, but also the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3). “They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I was also eager to do” (Galatians 2:10).

One of the loveliest examples in the Bible of a hard working small business person providing for the family and the needy is the amazing woman described in Proverbs 31:10-27, which reads in part: “An excellent wife . . . works with her hands in delight.  She is like merchant ships; she brings her food from afar.  She rises also while it is still night, and gives food to her household, and portions to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it. From her earnings she plants a vineyard . . . She extends her hand to the poor; and she stretches out her hands to the needy . . .  She makes coverings for herself. . . She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen . . . She looks well to the ways of her household . . .”

May all of us catch the vision of using our work to provide for the needs of our loved ones and of others in need.

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Howard Dayton is the Founder and CEO, Compass – finances God’s way. For more information about Howard, please click HERE.