Pastor Rich Lusk points out that in the feeding of the five thousand, the disciples gather up more food than they started with. The spend resources, but their reserves increase rather than decrease. 

This is the economy of the kingdom: The Father rewards generous service, so that our expenditures of time, energy, and resources don’t deplete but add. We find more time, energy, and resources to expend on further generous service. 

This was a constant worry for medieval Franciscans and for Wesley: No matter how much they gave, they ended up with more than they had. It’s tough being a mendicant to a generous God.

All this seems counter-intuitive and magical, and many have set up stark contrasts between the economy of the kingdom and the supposedly zero-sum economics of the market. 

But the economy of the kingdom doesn’t cancel but perfects nature. Invest money, time, energy, creativity, labor, resources into X, and you often end with vastly more than you started. 

It’s called return on investment, and it’s only surprising if we assume that the world is an inert transformer of inputs into equivalent outputs. Which is not what the world is. One seed yields a tree of apples, a head of grain.

The economy of the kingdom is magical because creation is magical.

More on: Economics, Generosity

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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