[notice] A column by Johannesburg Business Editor, Patrick Kuwana. [/notice]Statistics show that 81% of the South African population is Christian with 56% of the population attending church at least once a week. If this is so – why is South Africa not reflecting a Christian culture in every area of society? Why is South Africa listed 69out of 169 countries in the 2012 corruption index report? Why do we have the highest gap between the rich and poor in the world when Christianity is supposed to be built upon a foundation of righteousness and justice? Why does a nation like South Africa which is blessed with so many resources currently have one of the lowest labour productivity rates in the world and the 2nd lowest economic growth rate in Africa?
As Christian leaders in the spheres of church and the marketplace (business/government), these are critical questions that we need to address.
A critical reason that is stopping us from effectively dealing with these issues is that we continue to put our trust in intellectual solutions that are based on the flawed rules of a man made economic system, instead of going back to the instructions and divine solutions of the architect of economics – God our Father. South Africa (and every nation for that matter) will continue to sink into a greater measure of darkness for as long as we think that we can find lasting solutions outside the framework of God’s instructions (as written in the Bible and revealed by the Holy Spirit on an ongoing basis).
The first word’s God spoke to mankind where an economic mandate – (“Be fruitful and multiply” … Genesis 1:28) and the rest of His words to us in the bible are filled with instructions on how we should do this because when we do we will see restoration come into the economic value chain so that all people on earth will have sufficiency in provision (food, water, shelter, services, etc).
For the purposes of this article I would like to address a single critical aspect that differs between the man-made systems of economics that we currently operate under today and God’s Kingdom economic system.
Scarcity versus abundance
Man-made economic systems are driven by the premise of scarcity whereas God’ Kingdom economic system is driven by the premises of abundance.
Wikipedia defines ‘scarcity as the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants and needs in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfil all human wants and needs’.
In other words God created us His children and put us into a world that does not have enough resources for us to survive. This is effectively what world economics is saying everyday about God and sadly even us as the church have bought into this thinking, happily operate under it and sadly even contribute to the growth of this system of deception that is holding billions of people in captivity and blinding them from seeing a God who loves them.
By the way the notion of ‘unlimited human wants’ as mentioned in the Wikipedia definition was birthed when the devil deceived mankind to desire and ultimately consume something in disobedience to God. This forms a huge part of the problem we face today and is an integral part of the broken world economic system.
I truly think that our belief in this lie of scarcity is one of the greatest sins we need to repent of because it implies that God is unloving and effectively very sadistic and sick because he created children and placed them in a world for them to suffer!!
Leads to hording
The resultant behaviour of a scarcity driven economic system is hording because there might not be enough tomorrow; it’s greed because I have to accumulate as much for myself even at the expense of others; it’s materialism because the more I have the more secure I am; it’s bribing to get want I want because I might not get it in another way; it’s dependence on self apart from God because God did not create enough so therefore why should I expect or even rely on him to look after me.
This lie of scarcity is one of the devil’s most potent tools to create disorder in the world and one which currently blinds billions of people from seeing the goodness of God. This one lie has resulted in mankind being used by the devil to his work of stealing, killing and destroying. The day we (you and I) as believers of Jesus Christ take up our mandate to bring about economic restoration by bringing back God’s economic system of abundance into the world is the day we will see the start of a season that will result in billions of people having the veil of poverty removed from their eyes to reveal a good God who loves them so much and has provided an abundant life for them (naturally here on earth and also in heaven). I believe when we deal with the economic issue we will see such a multitude of souls streaming into salvation as they realise who God truly is.
Jesus came to restore the abundant life that God originally intended for all mankind. (I have come to that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly – John 10:10b). Does the systemic poverty we see around us mean that Jesus failed to deliver on his mandate and promise of abundant life, or maybe is it that we as His disciples who have been given the task to implement and model His ways and instructions have failed to implement what He has told us to in order for this to manifest here and now?
Wastage and corruption
Research shows that a quarter of the world’s food is wasted. South Africa wastes 9 to 10 million tonnes of food each year. Rev Joel Edwards, International Coordinator of EXPOSED (www.exposed2013.com) , the global Christian campaign aimed at exposing corruption said “Over US$1 TRILLION goes missing every year from the global economy as a result of corruption and it’s predicted that illegal tax evasion alone will be responsible for 5.6 million children dying in developing countries between 2000 and 2015. That’s 1 000 children every day”. I therefore ask the question – is there really scarcity in resources?
Sadly these 5.6 million children will die probably without knowing the truth that they have a loving Father who actually provided abundantly for them but the resources could not get to them because of our failure to implement the Father’s economic system. I belief God’s heart is bleeding with grief and tears of pain streaming down His face as he sees His children suffering in a world that He created with abundance because we have allowed the devil to deceive us into accepting a scarcity based economy as being the norm.
Amos 5:21-24 (NLT) – ‘I hate all your show and pretence – the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with all your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.’
Oh Lord please forgive us.