an economic perspective

By November 27, 2008Church

The economy has been on everyone’s mind. Housing reports, taxes, jobs, unemployment, stocks, bonds, credit, and so on. Our state and city governments are running budget deficits and having to make cuts. On the personal level, many of us are tightening our belts and trying to make wise choices in difficult times.

I’m not going to profess to be an economist, though some of it is common sense: spend less than you make and avoid going into debt. Other than that, my next best tip would be to buy low and sell high.

No, I’m not an economist — I am a pastor. As such, I’m intrigued by one of economic’s most basic principles: the law of supply and demand. Simply put, the law of supply and demand states that when demand exceeds supply, prices go up. When supply exceeds demand, prices go down.

In the Christian “economy”, the law of supply and demand takes on a different meaning. Jesus once said that the harvest was plentiful but the workers were few (Matthew 9:37). The harvest Jesus spoke of is not corn or even coffee beans. The harvest represents people — brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students — who have yet to have a meaningful, life-changing encounter with Jesus.

The demand is great but often unrecognized. We see the people in our lives — brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students — but fail to see the harvest. Perhaps this is why Jesus said to his earliest followers, “Open your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). Even then, it was possible to be one of Jesus’ travelling companions and not see the same things he saw.

While demand is greater than ever (the “fields are ripe for harvest”), the supply of workers remains low. Yet I believe we may be entering a time when people will be searching for something more stable than an interest rate or savings account. Times of uncertainty have a way of encouraging people to look for certainties.

The demand for real hope, real assurance, and real stability will only increase. The question is: will Christ-followers step up to the plate and offer the One real answer and solution?

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).