Sidestepping ecosystems and economies

To provide bread for multitudes of hungry people, we would require natural ecosystems and a thriving economy. There must be fertile land, adequate condensation and biological systems that process seeds into matured plants for harvest, over a period of time. Labour markets must supply labour for tilling, planting, tending, harvesting, milling and processing.

Oil, salt, sweeteners and yeast must be available from commodities markets. There must be access to funds from financial markets to pay for labour, equipment and raw materials. There must be adequate time and intelligence to bring all the actors and factors together to provide enough bread for multitudes.

How about enough fish? Think about access to water teeming with fish sustainably grown and harvested. Think about the labour, the equipment, the processing of raw into edible fish. Think of the financial markets. Think of the time and mental strain that would be required to bring all the actors and factors together to have enough cooked fish.

On a certain day, after teaching multitudes of people for several hours in an isolated place, Jesus’ disciples asked Him to send the people off to buy themselves food. We may conclude that the disciples were not being wicked. In their world, it was the right thing to do. Knowing the physical and material limitations, Jesus responded, “They need not depart, give them something to eat.”

By asking them to provide food on the spot for the people, Jesus attempts to shift the disciples’ attention from their reality of limitations to a reality without limitations. I believe Jesus not only wanted them to bypass the systems they grew up in, He knew they could. But how?

Jesus blessed a young lad’s lunch of five Barley loaves and two fishes, causing instant multiplication. An estimated 15 to 20,000 people ate and had baskets leftover. By so doing, He unveiled an invisible and omnipresent source of supply, accessible with or without financial or material resources, whose currency is faith. This was done on two separate occasions.

Consider what was sidestepped. Think of what did not transpire. Yet, the need was met, publicly.

How does this apply to those of us seeking to follow Christ in meeting human needs today? Could it indicate the facility with which we could employ the supernatural, and sidestep markets and natural processes, to meet today’s needs? What are we missing?

Look on the asset side

The balance sheet is one of the first concepts you learn in basic accounting. It shows a snapshot of the assets, liabilities and equity of an entity at a specific date. The balance sheet indicates health and determines what is possible. An entity with little cash, huge liabilities and low equity is not likely to go on a shopping spree. They will exercise caution, until their assets increase over liabilities, which increases equity or net assets. The net assets indicate what you can play with, what is truly yours.

Since reality is first spiritual, I see a spiritual parallel. I have an invisible balance sheet, as everyone else, which I hold in my heart. My assets are my resources and strengths. My liabilities are my needs, desires, wants, challenges or responsibilities. If on taking a snapshot of my life, I perceive that my liabilities far outweigh my assets, I could panic, be sad, get depressed or give up on life. Economics further blinds one to the truth, as it is based on this faulty premise: human wants far exceed available resources.

I have chosen to see that God is my asset. He said something truly amazing to Abraham – “I am your shield and your reward”, which He also says to everyone in Christ and invites everyone without Christ to partake in. King David said, “God is the strength of my life.” He also said something mind staggering, “God is my inheritance.” Jesus said something I cannot get over, “The kingdom of God shall be in you.” God is my asset, my strength and my inheritance. Anyone in Christ needs to see that God is on the asset side, meaning all is well and nothing is impossible. Why? Remove your needs, wants and challenges from God, you still have God, undiminished.

Mathematics expresses this truth. Infinity – x = Infinity, where x is any number.

Being in Christ is not religion. It is God becoming your strength, for any need, want or challenge. The good news is that spiritual strength translates into visible realities. Otherwise, God is a fraud or merely a fable, and He is not. I am thankful that the invisible word of God enters our world, becoming tangible and visible, just as Jesus Christ, the word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. I am grateful that likewise, my invisible reality can become visible, with my input.

As 2011 comes to a close, if you focus on your remaining liabilities, you may not be full of gratitude but if you focus on the asset side, you will soon be singing and dancing. Even if you have liabilities going into 2012, your equity is still Almighty God, and that is worth singing, dancing and celebrating about, all through 2012.

Merry Christmas.