Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Too Much or Too Little

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Too Much or Too Little

Article excerpt

"Turning wealth into good works," a recent article in this newspaper, points out that the United States will see, in the next few decades, an unprecedented transfer of wealth, with an intergenerational transfer of at least $45 trillion by 2052 (June 11).

Some of these super-rich are turning to traditional and nontraditional philanthropic means to "pay back" society. On the other hand, some studies show that the yawning and ever-growing gap between rich and poor makes for a serious problem of hopelessness and frustration for the many at the bottom of the economic order. Some kind of balance seems necessary.

Economics classes teach the basics of the supply and demand curves, and that one should strive to be at the point where these are in balance. There are whole battalions of consultants who devote their efforts to maximizing the benefits - creating wealth while keeping costs down - all the time watching the supposed "invisible hand" of the market at work.

What I learned in these classes didn't seem secure to me. I wanted to know that my life wasn't subject to the vagaries of the market, worries by investors, or political coups abroad. I didn't want to be buffeted by bullish or bearish trends, either.

I turned to the Bible for inspiration, and found in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount the demand, "I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" (Matt. 6:25).

This seems counterintuitive in today's society. Was Jesus really telling us, in this expression, "take no thought," to ignore these needs? Then I discovered that the Greek word is "to be anxious." Jesus' teaching, I believe, is not to ignore human needs, but to not be anxiety-ridden about them, allowing God to supply the need.

How to achieve this? …

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