What were God’s original intentions for mankind regarding provision and wealth? In a fallen world, what can we reasonable expect from Him now? The Theology of Work Project addresses these questions.
Provision & Wealth Overview
God intends for everyone to thrive economically. He wants us to find provision (basic needs) for our daily life. He also desires for us to enjoy the wealth (abundance) of his generosity. Furthermore, God’s world has ample resources to provide all we need.
However, in the fallen world we inhabit, many people do not experience God’s abundant provision. Others find their needs are met, but only at great cost (emotional, physical, relational, environmental, moral or spiritual) to themselves and those around them. Then there are still other people who attain significant economic wealth, but this is gained through harming others or themselves.
Whatever situation we find ourselves in economically, questions and concerns about God’s intent and role in provision and wealth weigh heavily on almost every Christian’s mind. Such matters are to the fore in the lives of rich and poor; employer, employee and job seeker; student, parent and retiree; homeowner, tenant and homeless person.
Fortunately, this concern for the economic is matched by the priority it is given in Scripture. Indeed, provision and wealth are far from peripheral issues in the Bible. They occupy a large share of both the Old and New Testaments, and are prominent in the Gospels.
While it is true that God’s original intention for humanity to enjoy his provision and wealth has been disrupted, the story is not finished. God’s response to the lack of provision and wealth in the world is to redeem the economic sphere so that it again provides what everyone needs.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in Colossians that
In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)
“All things” includes the economic sphere.
A critical way God brings about this redemption is through the lives of Jesus’ followers. Colossians continues,
You who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him. (Colossians 1:21-22)
And in his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul expands on God’s work in and through us:
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
This reconciliation with God has enormous implications for every aspect of our lives, including economics. Ambassadors, of course, represent their sovereigns’ economic interests, along with all other interests.
So what might this mean for our role as Christ’s ambassadors and redemptive partners?
This extensive article goes on to suggest ...
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