Kingdom Economics: Worldly Systems and the Kingdom

Kingdom of Heaven
The kingdom of Heaven will be unlike any worldly system we have ever seen. (iStock photo )

The world's economic systems include traditional, market, command and mixed models. For traditional systems, new generations inherit the economic position of parents and family.

Market economies allow supply and demand to determine the allocation of resources via price and income. In command economies, the government decides what, when, how and how many products or services will be produced. And mixed economies combine various elements of other systems.

For example, a command economy may allow the resources in certain sectors to be determined by market incentives. China experienced an economic turnaround when it first allowed market incentives in its agricultural sector.

Political systems can be defined as democracies, republics, monarchies, communists or dictatorships. In democracies, each individual has an opportunity to participate either directly or through representatives. A republic form of government is legitimized and controlled, in large part, by the governed. A monarchy is governed by a monarch with powers ranging from absolute control to constitutional control of some of government's functions. Communism is an authoritarian type of government characterized by a single party, and centrally planned economy, often with significant control over individual decisions. A dictatorship is controlled by a single individual or very small group of people. Dictators often often have military backgrounds and are sometimes installed by the military.

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Jesus preached the gospel (good news) of the kingdom, which is unlike any worldly economic or political system. We need to understand His kingdom message. For clarity, we will define the kingdom to be the areas in which the Lord has dominion.

The kingdom of Heaven is a place. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom now, will be a physical kingdom in the future, and will be presented to the Father where the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Heaven will merge. The Bible will sometimes transpose the definitions we are using, especially in Matthew which was written for a Jewish audience.

God's kingdom is vastly different and superior than our experiences with worldly economic or political systems may lead us to believe. Unless we understand these differences, we can reach wrong conclusions about the kingdom. The following characteristics should illuminate some of these differences:

  • When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were given kingdom-of-God citizenship. But unlike worldly citizenships, we were also adopted as sons and daughters of the King. We are royalty and have been chosen as the King's representatives and ambassadors on earth.
  • As ambassadors we have the full authority, power and resources necessary to fulfill the King's business which He has entrusted to us. Our King has unlimited resources. He will guide, comfort and empower us with the Holy Spirit to accomplish kingdom business.
  • Our King loves us with an eternal love. He will never leave or forsake us.
  • Our King expects complete obedience but is quick to forgive when we sincerely ask and repent. He is known for His mercy and grace.
  • Our King is perfectly faithful, trustworthy, knowledgeable and powerful.
  • Our King's promises are completely reliable.
  • God's kingdom is eternal.

Every day we have the opportunity to glorify our King with our love, compassion, obedience and power of the Holy Spirit. Let us be His ambassadors in word and deed. Let us be used as His willing and consecrated instruments to bring His will on earth as it is in heaven. To Him be the power and the glory forever.

Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.

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