When I was a kid, our currency was POGS. We’d trade and sell on the market at recess, and it was dog-eat-dog (unless you had a Batman slammer, then you played for keeps). But we weren’t ruled by a single standard economy. There were always our Beanie Baby investments to fall back on.
I had Grunt…GRUNT! It was only because mom got him on the front side of the Beanie Baby Bubble™. And like some stupid kid who just wants to play with the toy, I ripped Grunt’s tag off when she brought him home. So, you can imagine the horror I experienced when I found out that there was a new thing called the “internet” where crazy moms were buying Grunt (with the tag) for $250. “TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS?!” I collapsed in an ocean of tears. In 1994, $250 was Richie-Rich level money…at least to a third grader. I could have sold Grunt and built a roller-coaster in my back yard.
About two years later the Beanie Baby Bubble™ burst and now we all have trash bags full of worthless toys (that we secretly hold on to because they will still be worth millions one day).
That’s what’s so interesting about economies. They can collapse overnight – especially when they are built on shaky foundations. In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about two Kingdoms with two very different economies. One can collapse overnight and the other has outlasted every superpower on Earth.
They are not recognized by their value statements, but by their GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Every economy produces something, and these Kingdoms are no different. According to Jesus, there are two Gross Domestic Products that characterize The Kingdom of the World and The Kingdom of God.
THE KINGDOM OF THE WORLD
GDP #1: WORRY
The word “anxiety” is used six times in Matthew 6, then Christ commands us not to be worried about our lives. Most times, we see anxiety as something out of our control, but the Greek word is in the imperative.
“Worry is believing that God won’t get it right, and bitterness is believing He didn’t.” – Tim Keller
Jesus wouldn’t call us to something His Spirit hasn’t empowered us to do. So, if your life is characterized by worry or anxiety right, don’t lose hope.
GDP #2: SIN
He said that the eyes are the lamp of the body. If our eyes are healthy, we will be healthy. If our eyes are pursuing darkness, we will be full of darkness. And, when the good things in us are dark…it’s really bad (vs. 22-23). In short, when we seek the Kingdom of the World, our lives produce worry and sin in mass.
UNTIL YOU PURSUE THE RIGHT THINGS FIRST,
EXHAUSTING THINGS WILL PURSUE YOU FAST.
That’s the revolutionary economic concept Jesus was teaching. You have exhausting stuff speeding your way, and change happens only when you pursue the right economy.
“But SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
GDP #1: HOLINESS
When we value what Heaven values, we will pursue holiness and prayer and people and worship and intimacy with God.
GDP #2: HARMONY
Food, clothing, and money are good things, but, as Jesus said, isn’t life more than these things? When we are pursuing the Kingdom of God first, then He brings our finances and relationships and physical needs into harmony with His will.
Jesus’ message is not “STAY AWAY FROM THESE THINGS!” Instead it’s, “PURSUE THIS THING.” When we are pursuing the Kingdom of God, we are naturally going to steer away from sin and worry. So, if you feel driven those things, maybe it’s because you are not seeking the Kingdom first today.
Every morning you and I are faced with the choice of the two Kingdoms, and our lives’ GDP will reflect that decision. If you’re like me, some days I choose wrongly and it catches up fast. That’s when I run to Matthew 6:33, repent, and remember the millions of Beanie Babies sitting in dumpsters.