Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart will be also.
Most of us would condone a savings account. Most of us would condone a 401k. Most of us would actually greatly approve of winning the lottery and receiving yearly payouts in figures comprising, oh, six digits at least. And most of us wouldn’t mind stashing at least some of that under the mattress. Or in the sock drawer.
And why not? After all, it’s like Donna Summer said, she works hard for the money. And so do we. So hard for it honey. And if we’re toiling away (some harder than others, admittedly), wiping the sweat off our brows, don’t we have a right to tuck some of those earnings away, securing for ourselves a stable financial future? Don’t we then have a right to a secure life? Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman say we do, as well as the CEOs of other financial investment firms - some of whom believed in it so much themselves that they decided their own financial security was a heck of a lot more important than their little peon investors’ (many of them now having to dine dumpster-side, ala carte).
Anyway, I’ve been thinking lately about how much money there actually is in the world to go around. Governments only print so much you know. They really can’t just print currency willy nilly. Well, one government that I can think of tried it, then people stood in lines just to pay one million Mark for a loaf of bread. It didn’t work out as planned.
So if the amount of money floating around on the planet is limited, and people (or even nations) are hoarding large percentages of it by way of investments and assets (like, say, the yacht sitting in the St. Tropez harbor) in order to secure their livelihood and future, then others will obviously be left to contend with a less bright future, or even present. This Ponzi scheme we have all heard about is a prime example. One man decides his existential security can only come through something like 65 billion dollars, leaving scads of people to fight for their very existence while they make do with food stamps. There’s only so much to go around, and if a small minority hogs it, then a larger majority loses. And that always hurts.
I realize that my thinking is simple. It’s been a long time since I took economics in high school. And I realize that my thinking might sound a bit, um, social, a curse word in America for sure. But, to myself, I have begun to explain a lot of the world’s problems through this lens. Oppression simply always comes as the price for someone’s security gain, leaving a trail of food banks, human rights violations, and, sometimes, even graves in their wake.
What are we to do?
Well, I think we need to find out security in other places. And I think God might be a good place to start. He was, after all, the one who said that we should watch how He feeds the birds, and that we shouldn’t worry because we are worth even more than they are. Call me an idealist, but I’m thinking that if we find our true, spiritual security in God, then we might be more willing to liquidate our assets and spread the existential security more evenly.
Not that that’s easy. And certainly not that I’m an example. I hoard in my own wacky ways. Just the other day, at Goodwill, I totally snatched up that brand new with tags West Elm woven hyacinth throw pillow. That pillow had my name all over it, and I wanted it for our family room. Did we actually need it? No. (Does anyone, really?) But now it rests beautifully on our family room armchair. And beauty is something I need to make me feel secure. So I hoard things from Goodwill that maybe other people need more than I do, at that price particularly. Maybe it would help if I found more beauty in God’s creation, instead of my own? Maybe I would feel more secure observing the birds and stuff?
Maybe it’s worth a try?
Anyway, for this week’s Part of the Solution, I don’t have any facts or figures for you. I don’t have any bullet points with steps to take. Just some musings and thoughts to hopefully start a dialogue about where our true security comes from, and how that might be an effective, long term remedy for our planet’s ills.