Economies are filled with secret places. Corporate board meetings, international trade negotiations and agreements, fiscal policy negotiations, non-government organization inner workings, and central banks are usually known for a lack of transparency.
Even though delayed minutes are often furnished, they usually reflect the result of informal discussions and agreements which are not typically published.
The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is one of the most powerful organizations in the world, composed of 60 global central bank members which comprise about 95 percent of the world's GDP. Organized in 1930, the BIS has the stated mission of the pursuit of monetary and financial stability by fostering international cooperation and serving as the bank for central bankers. It is governed by a board of directors of up to 21 members.
Within the BIS, an informal Economic Consultative Committee (ECC) makes recommendations to the full membership at the BIS's Global Economy Meeting. The ECC's eighteen members represent about 80 percent of world GDP. They meet every other month in Basel, Switzerland for a formal meeting which usually lasts about an hour, and is followed by a meal where informal discussions can continue for another three to four hours. No formal minutes are taken. Even though they meet in Switzerland, the Swiss have no jurisdiction. Employees are not taxed. Discussions are strictly confidential. Security is paramount.
In the world, secrecy can create suspicions, doubts and risks. Decision-makers must often allocate resources based upon anticipated policy actions. If these forecasts prove wrong, money and other resources can be wasted and economic instability may increase. Neo-Keynesian and Neo-Classical schools of economic thought both point to the need for transparency.
But, everyone in the kingdom should have a secret place—an inner place where we can connect with God for direction and empowerment. Every person may have a different method of accessing their secret place, but prayer, Bible study, praise and worship, church attendance, meditating on the promises of God, and service are important elements. Secret places are the result of, and will enhance, our relationship with the Lord. By retiring to our secret place, we learn to clearly discern the voice of the Lord and establish roots which enable us to produce fruit.
"He who dwells in the shelter [secret place in King James version] of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust." (Ps. 91:1-2, MEV).
Our secret place is a place of blessing. The psalmist indicated that protection from our enemies, sickness, fear, and destruction can be ours. He also said that angels will assist us, that we will be set on high, that we will have our prayers answered and that we can have a long life. We need to dwell in the secret place and abide under His shadow (Psalm 91).
In the New Testament, the Lord also tied our secret times with Him to blessings. He told us not to pray to be seen by men, but to pray in secret and He will reward us openly. He told us not to give to be honored by men, but to give in secret and He will reward us. Likewise, he told us to fast in secret, instead of before men, and He would reward us openly.
"But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matt. 6:6, MEV).
" ... that your charitable deeds may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly" (Matt. 6:4, MEV).
"... so that you will not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matt. 6:18, MEV).
Our relationship with the Lord should be such that we can access His comfort, direction and empowerment at any time.
Dr. James R. Russell is professor of economics and chair of the Undergraduate College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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