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Interpreting the Signs of the Times
The Bible is a spiritual blueprint for governing the economies of our households, employment centres, cities and even nations!

The state of our global economy is, no doubt, of great concern to those of us who follow Christ. In fact, the economy has been overshadowing almost every current news story that is broadcast on most of the major networks and communication systems worldwide. Therefore, while facing this stark reality, what is an appropriate biblical response to “such a time as this” (Esther 4:15)? Is there anything we can do above the norm of conventional wisdom – an act of faith that realistically surpasses mere platitudes in this new year?

… Chinese business leaders are studying … religion courses.

Let me first of all mention what is being considered by the world’s fastest growing major economy – China. According to the December 8, 2008 edition of Canadian Business magazine, the State Minister for Religious Affairs in China, Ye Xiao Wen, explained how the Chinese government was now aiming to channel religion toward its economic growth and stability. The general secretary put forward the idea of bringing into play the positive role of religious leaders and believers in helping to promote economic and social development. Furthermore, Ye stated that religion can help boost the development of their market economy in China.

As a result, Chinese business leaders are studying Buddhism and several business programs at Chinese universities are offering religious courses. It is becoming apparent that people doing business in China are increasingly beginning to heed the fact that “Buddhist philosophies and principles apply in business.”

Regarding our Canadian mindset, the director of the Canada-China Business Council has stated that the past three decades have seen China adapt somewhat to certain aspects of our western values.

However, there is a growing trend toward Canadians becoming more willing to recognize Chinese values. Therefore, the question becomes, what value system will generate solutions to the enormous problems in our economy?

Here is my suggestion. I believe that, for whatever reason, those who follow the principles of Christ have not yet embraced the truth that the Bible is also a spiritual blueprint to govern the economies of our households, employment centres, cities and even nations!

Biblical economics instruct us in what we should do to develop or steward the nations/earth as God originally intended. In fact, the Bible tells us that we will rule the nations with Christ, according to Revelation 20. So I would suggest that we biblically rediscover what the Chinese have acknowledged as a positive association between business (economy) and spiritual principles.

How do we begin? Refocus our skill of discernment and sharpen it by seeking His kingdom – a kingdom with real transformational truths applicable in the realm of the present-day economy. Jesus explained in Scripture: “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:2b-4 NIV).

According to economists, our current crisis was birthed in greed and is driven by fear. And although fear does have power, it can be negated with faith. One of our major economic problems is a system of forced consumption which is built on a debt-driven philosophy of “prosperity.” That being the case, it should not be a time for believers to succumb to fear but rather to rethink our worldview in relation to biblical economics; a time to rediscover how God thinks about our personal and corporate management for the just provision of our lives. Then we need to apply those biblical principles to correct the current mismanagement because faith is built on the solid conviction that truth, when properly applied, actually works. Are you ready to act?

Robert Melnichuk is director of Crossroads@Work and executive producer of “what i do,” a ministry arm of Crossroads that serves as a national workplace organization to equip men and women to understand and experience their work in business, industry, education and government as a personal and professional calling to serve God.

Originally published in Crossroads Compass, January 2009.




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