From the Pastor
Our post-Christian era, values the freedom to choose. My choices reflect my identity, and allow me to set a course towards feeling good, growing my self-esteem, and flourishing, so it is believed. Much of the debate over this plays out in sexuality. But what about finances? What choices are we making? And are they good choices?
In the past 60 years the square metre size of Australian houses has doubled. And yet the number of people living in houses has dropped by 30%. Since the year 2000, luxury car ownership has almost doubled. Philanthropic giving is in decline. 43% of high income earners do not make any tax deductable donations to charities at all.
It appears giving people more resources and more freedom to choose leads to people making more selfish choices. The evidence is people do not naturally choose to be generous, or thoughtful, or even responsible, when left to themselves. Owning a bigger house is not neutral. It uses more energy, and it is bad for the environment. It requires more personal debt to finance, and in that sense it is bad for the economy.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) is the father of capitalism and economics. He argued that individual self-interest drives the economy. The butcher and the baker want to make a profit. Let the free hand of the market decide the price of labour, goods and services. What we now see is some people choose to be workaholics. Some people choose to amass wealth. Some make choices disregarding the consequences for the other or the environment.
Jesus encourages us to think of others first. In the process of loving and serving our neighbour, we follow Jesus’ example, reflect God’s image, and live life to the full.