Entering God’s Economy

by Morris Ruddick on June 12, 2012


© Morris E. Ruddick


“For the secret things belong to the LORD, but those that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.” Deuteronomy 29: 29 

God did not make His people to be like everyone else; nor to follow a methodology embraced by a corrupt and compromising world. Instead, He has unveiled everything needed for those known by His name to be the head and not the tail. It all begins with the choice to enter the narrow path of the Kingdom and His economy.

In Deuteronomy 29:29 Moses reveals the insight that has made the Jewish people to be the most remarkable people in history. When the Jewish people have gotten it right, the bottom line is that the Lord and His principles have been their foundation not only as individuals, but as a people. In Isaiah 43 the Lord reveals that the Lord chose them as a witness to understand that He is God.

God’s economy is not some new dimension of Western Christian pop-culture. It is the dimension of those “secret things” that has been an integral part of the model explaining why the Jewish people have not only survived the civilizations that have come and gone over the centuries, but have been disproportionate contributors to the advancement of those societies.

As already explained in previous posts, the model for these secret things came from Abraham, who operated a God-centered, entrepreneurial community. The mantle also came from Abraham: “to be blessed to be a blessing.” Moses then recorded the principles comprehensively for the operation of the model and mandate in the Books of Moses. Entrepreneurship is the spark that both ignites and fuels this dynamic encompassing the model and mandate that we refer to as God’s economy.

The Distinguishing Dynamic
The intertwining dimensions of God’s economy and entrepreneurship are reflected in the story of Isaac in Genesis 26. It was a time of famine, but the Lord told Isaac that He would override the curse impacting those in that land and bless him. So Isaac obeyed the Lord and sowed in a land where nothing was growing. The result was against the odds of adversity, as his efforts brought increase to the level that scripture describes: as Isaac “prospered and continued to prosper until he became very prosperous.”

In the process, God’s blessing upon Isaac distinguished and made him a light to societies who were struggling around him. God’s economy thrives when God’s people hear the voice of the Lord and obey, despite the circumstances of adversity.

In 2008, I was asked to conduct one of my God’s economy entrepreneurial workshops in an area of Asia where people of faith were being persecuted. I was told what I presented would be for a group of existing business owners interested in pressing beyond the superficialities in doing business God’s way.

I was stunned when I arrived, to find that ALL of the 38 business-owners were pastors and assistant pastors. One by one the Lord had been uniquely speaking to them and leading them to start their own businesses. In each case, they not only succeeded in their efforts with their small enterprises, which amazingly still allowed them ample time for their pastoral responsibilities; but they had become an example to their congregations and a witness to the authorities, who no longer viewed them as poor, non-contributors to the community.

At the onset of imparting our program’s principles to these pastors, the Lord gave me a word of wisdom for them from 1 Peter 2:15: “That by their good works, they were putting to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” Indeed, through the Abrahamic model and the mantle of being blessed to be a blessing, God was making them the head and not the tail and giving them influence in their communities, where they previously had been despised and scorned.

Both God’s economy and entrepreneurship are driven by that feature of His nature, which is creative and brings increase. God’s economy and entrepreneurship are each based on a people who serve as leaders, not as the world views leadership, but through influence. The bottom line to God’s economy and entrepreneurship is power; but again not like the world conceives of power, but instead the righteous power that overcomes evil with good, when His people operate in oneness with Him.

Entering God’s Economy
Entrance into God’s economy is based on certain principles. These biblical dynamics extend beyond good ethics and represent the foundation to God’s economy. They include an interaction of the following key factors:

Trust in the Lord. The sequence in Proverbs 3:5,6 indicates that the natural response to decisions and mapping out future plans is drawn from our own understanding. Yet, it admonishes us NOT to lean on our own understanding, but to give first priority to our trust in the Lord. To do so will take faith and it will require reaching for both the wisdom and revelation that mark the ones guided by His Spirit.

Priestly-King Role. Abraham, Joseph and David are all models of those heroes of faith who served in priestly-king roles. They each were planners who changed the course of the world within their spheres, as leaders whose distinctive was being led by the Spirit of the Lord. For each, they made an impact through God before ascending to positions that gave them higher-level platforms to accomplish God’s strategic purposes. The dynamic of God’s economy will become a reality for those who trust the Lord and operate with a king’s heart, regardless of the level of the position.

Kingdom Principles. The Kingdom of God is driven by different principles than those of the world. Foremost is that God is actively sought and involved. Employing righteous power in worldly settings will seem as a paradox to the way the world operates and succeeds; but is ultimately far more enduring and liberating.

Dominion. Understanding the authority we wield as God’s ambassadors is at the heart of ruling over the work of His hands. So it is with God’s economy. We establish God’s authority within the economic sphere as a key part of being a light to the communities around us, as we are blessed to be a blessing.

Small Beginnings. Growth will come from humble beginnings for those who are diligent with what they’ve been entrusted. Enterprises birthed as Kingdom initiatives need to be started at a level in which we get the “God as Senior Partner” dimension down before growth comes and things become more complicated. In other words, when learning to trust in the Lord as priestly-kings in ruling over the work of His hands, we need to walk before we run; regardless and perhaps in spite of the position one may have come from in the world’s structure. That means it is not what we can do for God, but rather what we allow Him to do through us.
“If you have run with footmen and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? If in the land of peace in which you trusted, they wearied you then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?”
Jeremiah 12:5

Stewardship, Faith and Multiplication. Stewardship, faith and multiplication are uniquely correlated within God’s economic system. When Joseph was a slave in Potiphar’s house, Genesis 39 tells us that “everyone saw that the Lord was with Joseph and made ALL he did to prosper.” Joseph’s results demonstrated something more that even the non-believing Egyptians could only conclude came from Joseph’s God. Despite his loss of freedom, Joseph’s identity was in God and he was a good steward, with all he did being committed to the Lord, with God then bringing blessings upon him that blessed those he served.

Perseverance. A key dimension of faith is the waiting period needed to overcome the hurdles and bring forth the fruit. Within God’s economy this will vary depending on the initiative. In case after case of businesses we have helped in persecuted lands, we have seen remarkable things happen, that could only be explained by God, when God is made Senior Partner and the pathway for the plan is committed to Him.

We encourage these entrepreneurs to look for simple milestones that mark the progress of the process. When simple beginnings begin to see enough customers that growth is evident; that is a milestone. When the influence of a business starts to demonstrate the reality of God; then an important milestone is passed.

Generosity. Jewish tradition upholds the community goal of being self-sufficient. Jesus’ admonition that you’ll be in the world, but not of the world conforms to this principle. It operates through a combination of nurturing the success of its members, with care being given to NOT becoming dependent on the world’s system through its own network of enterprise and the dynamic explained by the Hebrew word tz’dakah. Typically tz’dakah is translated as righteousness, but it literally means charitable righteousness and is a community dynamic that basically is proactive, planned generosity that multiplies the benefit to the entire community.

Unity. Unity is not blind conformity, but rather the mutual, trust-effort of all the members seeking common goals to the benefit of all. Again and again within the Books of Moses is the admonition of fairness in the application of righteous power with the expectation of benefit between brethren within the community; with the motivator “so that the Lord your God may bless the work of your hands.” Unity is released when the members are working toward the common good.

Work. The operative word for work in Hebrew today is avodah. To glean insight into Hebrew words, one first looks at its root; and then the correlated words that share that root. The root for avodah means “to witness.” The key words that share this root are “passion,” “purpose” and “future.” There is no connection between avodah and the Hebrew word for toil. In God’s economy, work indeed should be one’s passion, through which we have a purpose and attain a future.

God’s economy is more than faith in God. It is cooperation with God by means of His principles for His purposes. It’s released when we rule over the work of His hands in serving His purposes and people. Even then it far exceeds the issue of good ethics, as we adhere to the voice of the Lord with Him serving as our Senior Partner.
“Lord, what is man, that You take thought of him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God. You crown him with glory and majesty and have made him to rule over the works of Your hands.”
  Psalm 8:6

The Application of God’s Economy
With the entrance into God’s economy a seed is planted. It is the seed of the Kingdom, like that of a mustard seed that Jesus used to illustrate how the Kingdom of God manifests.

God’s economy is an outworking of the Kingdom that, like the mustard seed, which is the smallest or least likely of all the seeds; will grow beyond that of the other plants and herbs of the field. Its disproportionate growth potential is to become as a tree that houses added-value dimensions illustrated by “even the birds of the air nesting in its branches.” God’s economy is like that seed, as it is the expression of righteous power that breaks the bondage of corruption.

One of the Asian pastors we helped into a self-supporting role cheaply purchased a failed roadside, breakfast noodle shop in his community. It had failed because it didn’t have enough customers to cover its expenses. Despite that, the Lord gave this outgoing pastor a strong word on acquiring this small operation.

Because his Christian activities, which included birthing seven congregations in the region and training up pastors for each, periodically attracted local authorities, resulting in interrogations and beatings; locals who didn’t know him were curious and began stopping into his shop. Within two weeks, he, his wife and mother who ran this enterprise doubled the amount of noodle dishes sold at its start and were meeting their expenses. Within a few months, for the few morning hours this shop was open, he was supporting his family AND bringing new believers into the fold.

Interlink Business, Ministry and Community. Jesus used the platform of Peter’s fishing boat as a means to teach the people. It was a unique way by which the foundation of Peter’s business simultaneously served the purpose of ministry and blessed the community. It was an interlinking of business and ministry.
“Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon its owner to push out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the people.”
Luke 5:2,3

The Edge:  Apply Supernatural Faith. The supernatural faith required to enter God’s economy carries an ongoing expectation and must be continuous, as God always provides an advantage that will come from “being about His business.” When Jesus completed His teaching (Luke 5), he told Peter to throw out his nets. Peter quibbled, saying he’d been fishing there all night with no catch, but then he obeyed and the scripture says the nets became so full of fish that they began to tear.

So it happened when Isaac obeyed God and sowed in famine in Genesis 26. So it was with the Asian pastor who opened a failed noodle shop that eventually became a small community gathering place. The edge is in applying supernatural faith for both entering and in maintaining this realm that interlinks business and ministry.

Extend Charity (Tz’dakah) and Reciprocity. God’s economy flourishes on tz’dakah, the community dynamic of reciprocal generosity that pivots on the mantle of Abraham to be blessed to be a blessing. Reciprocity is reaping what you sow. When this type of community generosity is in operation, it is a mark of the spiritual maturity of its members.

One of our dear friends I have worked with in mobilizing African entrepreneurs is an executive for a Kingdom operation in Africa. His passion is giving. He looks for opportunities to be a meaningful blessing. His conclusion is that every major opportunity that has come to his operation has been the result of his obedience in giving.
“Jesus said, ‘give and it will be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Luke 6: 38

“The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered.” Proverbs 11:29

Expect the Result of Faith, Diligence and Multiplication. God’s economy is not for the slovenly, the slothful or presumptuous. It takes diligence. It takes a heart that is constantly seeking God and willing to act in faith at God’s guidance. From faith and diligence will come the release of that dimension of God’s nature within those who believe: to create, innovate, build and multiply. From God’s guidance will come righteous power to bring increase and nurture profit God’s way (Isaiah 48:17).
“The hand of the diligent shall rule, for diligence is man’s precious possession.”
Prov 12:26

“Promotion comes neither from the east nor the west, but from the Lord.” Ps 75:6

Exercise Servant Leadership. Entrance into God’s economy as an operative part of His Kingdom requires the employment of righteous power. This is the power entrusted to those who God prepares to be the head and not the tail; to those willing to pay the cost to exercise servant leadership.
“The king of the Gentiles lords over them; and those who have authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; let him who is the greatest become the least, and the leader as the servant.”
Luke 22:25-27

“You crown him with glory and majesty and have made him to rule over the works of Your hands.” Psalm 8:6

Assume Community Responsibility. Leadership in God’s economy begins by assuming community responsibility. This is the responsibility of the mature that rises above self and is other-directed. Community responsibility that employs righteous power is the dynamic that the world, living under the bondage of corruption is seeking as we demonstrate the reality of God operating within our spheres, as we are blessed to be a blessing.
“Unto him that much is given, much is required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
Luke 12:48

“For creation itself longs for the revealing of the sons of God that it might be delivered from the bondage of corruption as it gains entrance into this glorious freedom.”  Rom 8:19-21

In the next post, we will take a closer look at the dynamic of entrepreneurship, as God intended it to operate within the community of His people. In that context, it operates as both an individual and a community factor of the “secret things” revealed by God to His own that is key to being the head and not the tail, as we apply the model and the mandate. As a true expression of righteous power, entrepreneurship is both the spark and fuel that drives God’s economy.

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