” Everywhere and in all things I have learned to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:12-13

“Consider the lilies of the field…….”  Matthew 6:28

A quick note about what this post is not.  Based on the title if some are thinking this is to be a discussion or argument about which economic system God prefers, then I suggest you keep on searching somewhere else.  I have found nothing in scripture definitively pointing to one system over another.  I believe God can use any and all systems to bring about His plan.

Yet lately there has been a significant amount of discussion about the pros and cons of different systems in helping the people to which the system applies.  So here is the thing, trickle down, capitalism, socialism, communism, equitable distribution of wealth are all man designed processes concerned with material welfare of people.

While these systems are of human origin the basic question still arises, whose material is it originally as well as where does it come from?  It would seem to me that scripture tells us that what we should be acknowledging and then therefore working with, regardless of the system we live with, is the Flow Down system.  That is, what we have, all we have, all we need comes from our Heavenly Father.

Okay, I hear the arguments starting.  Sure, comes from God, I get that.  But, if I don’t have what I think I should, it is because all those rich folks are hoarding what God wants me to have right?  Hold on just a minute.  God warns against those who are sluggards and won’t work expecting others just to give them things.  That is what the poor mainly are right; wanting what I have worked so hard for?  All rich are cursed; right?  All poor are good?  But wait if the poor stop being poor; will they become cursed?  Jesus Christ and Paul (in His Name) seem to give us some insights.

Paul tells us that he has experienced the ends of the spectrum.  He has known abundance and hasn’t felt cursed because of it.  He has known need without being bitter at God or his fellow person.  He has been full and he has been hungry.  How is he able to handle all these different experiences; through Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ always uses words with precision.  If He wanted us to just look at the lilies, He would have said so.  However, Jesus asked us to “consider” the lilies; which is a deeper process.  The lily doesn’t, in fact can’t decide to look a specific way.  It doesn’t select the best seeds, decide to be planted in only the good soils, meticulously plan out how much rain it will get or hours of sunshine it will expose itself to.  No, all those things happen because of God and yet it’s beauty is unsurpassed.

So what’s the point of all of this.  Flow Down seems to me to be summed up in Jesus’ statement:  “How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask.  Yes!  Woo Hoo!  That means I should ask away; money, power, promotion fame, ….you said it, if I ask God will give. Hmmmm:  How would Jesus define good?  When asked by Jesus, the wealth of the rich man kept him from following Jesus.  The man who kept getting blessed harvests from God; who kept tearing down his barns just to build bigger ones, to acquire and save more and more, in the end was called a fool.

So who knows what the good things are?  God does.  Keeping me from temptation, keeping me from evil, giving to me today what I need (daily bread), forgiving me; these are all good.  Let’s break this down to some practical terms and examples.  I am a writer who has had one book published and completed a second book.  I am asking God (please please don’t think that this is some underhanded, sly scheme of asking anything from readers of this) for some resources that it will take to get the second book published.  Today it didn’t come.  Am I to say that I was wrong to ask?  Am I to assume that God hates my book?  What I’ve received today is an abundant choice of food when I have been hungry.  We are about to have our coldest day in our history and I am warm.  In short, I received today exactly what I needed.  I did not need those resources today.  God will decide when I do.

God may decide one day that I need to receive a significant amount of resources due to sale of my books.  What should be reaction be then?  I believe it will be to understand; there is a need, it may be mine it may be of someone around me for me to use those resources for.  I’m not to bury that money in the ground as the unwise servant did.  I’m not to tear down what I have just to buy bigger things and bigger things as the foolish farmer did.  If I’m blessed with success in my business; who has been out of work for a long time that I can hire?  If my books take a downturn or, as I am right now, without steady work due to the economic downturn and I don’t have the same measurable material wealth; I obviously don’t need it.  God will provide.  He will Flow Down to me what I need.

Brothers and sisters know that while I can see the reality of God’s Grace and long to live in perfect contentment without fear; alas, I have not achieved it.  So that is why the words of Paul are so comforting.  For I know that it can be done.  And to be done, if it is to be done, it must be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father; we struggle mightily with questions about what is the best man made system, how to correctly measure prosperity whose to blame for achieving or lack thereof.  Forgive us Merciful Father when we turn from what You have so clearly showed us.  Pour Out Your Spirit upon us Dear Father that we might come before You with a grateful heart.  Flow Down Your most perfect blessings upon us which are always more than sufficient yet also keeping us from too much.  Put Love and Generosity in our hearts so that we would always strive to share Your bountiful gifts with others in need.  That in our sharing and thanksgiving we would be living lives of joyful praise to You.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen