It’s a backwards economy, in that what we have grows by spending. It’s a communal economy, in that we can spend what each other have as we share. Yet, to access it, we must reveal our poverty, we must make friendships that are deep enough to hear that your friend has nothing to give, realise you can’t give them anything, and then give them what you don’t have anyway.
Have you ever pondered God’s economy? I don’t mean what is God’s opinion on our economic structures, or a typically American apologia for capitalism as the sine qua non of the Kingdom.
Let’s put such thoughts aside for now—though if you want a typically provocative thought on the subject: I’m queasy about capitalism for Biblical reasons. All the alternatives look worse.
Rather I’d like to speak of the economy of faith, how faith is spent as a currency and how that works. Which you might immediately want to query as being a nonsense, faith isn’t a currency! No, but there is an inheritance (Ephesians 1) that comes by faith, for all it isn’t financial. Faith is more like the wind than what goes in your wallet, it fills your sails, or it doesn’t, but go with the analogy—I trust it will be instructive.
Faith has an economy, and it runs counter to most of our intuitions. It’s more communal than you might imagine. For example, I can ‘spend’ your faith. Have you noticed that?
Let me show you what I mean. Let’s say you’ve been through a particularly trying time, and it is a genuine struggle to summon up the will to do some hoping, or the faith to pray for a breakthrough. Some, perhaps, would admonish you for that, as though your faith is deficient or lacking. I think we can safely discount them as people who have not suffered. The true friend bolsters my faith and reminds me of what’s true.