The more I think about Capitalism and Socialism the more I am sold on the idea of Capitalism and profit. However, my evolving thought process leads me to recognize the existence of two elements associated with profit. There is the obvious element of economic profit, but I also see a second element, social profit. I go back to two Biblical passages to support this double nature of profit. Exodus 16:18 states, “And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.” And Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Exodus 16:18 tells me that although I am a Capitalist I need to recognize the power of greed. I am not saying that the pursuit of wealth is morally wrong, I am saying that greed is wrong. Luke 12:48 tells me that as I pursue wealth, and if I am given the opportunity to have wealth, then I need to share it.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer made an interesting comment on participating in economic life. He stated, “if we are to participate in economic life, are [we] compelled to be a part of this? Can a Christian responsibly be a business-person in this sense? We often hear of double morality, one for personal life and one for business. But this assertion is obviously impossible because we have but one conscience.” I must behave consistently, there must be an integral relationship between my faith life and the life I live in this world. This means I need to be engaged with economic growth, but I need to use this expertise to produce social growth.
The US Senate is proposing a $3 Billion reduction in the foreign affairs-budget, the House wants to eliminate $9 Billion. According to a Pew survey 56% of evangelicals think “aid to the world’s poor should be the first thing cut from the federal budget.” There is a feeling within our camp that the government should not be in the business of helping the poor it is the Church’s job. Ronald Reagan reduced social programs as well as cut taxes. He felt NGO’s should step up and take care of people not the government.
I know we are struggling as a nation. I know we have financial problems right now, but I have to agree with Richard Stearns, President of World Vision. “We cannot let others suffer simply because times are tough in the U.S. All Americans must understand the urgency of human need. . .” Stearns feels we need both NGO and government actions when it comes to helping the poor. He feels there are places that government aid can be more effective than private aid.
I think there needs to be a balance. Some feel our country is in a decline, others feel we are in a down cycle. I hope the down cycle people are right, but my fear is we are in a decline. We have forgotten some very important aspects of character due to our greed. Remember, it is not just economic profit that we should be concerned with, but social profit too. If we stop giving of ourselves, what will become of us?
And that is my thought for the day!