With the Shekels Come the Shackles
Or, What Free Men Do When Slavery is Offered Them
In the last week, the United States has received economic news that should surprise no one, at least no one reading their Bibles. First, unemployment numbers came out, showing that the Biden administration’s “giving” our grandchildren’s money to the population has certainly created a stimulus - to not work. The anecdotes from some restaurant owners say that they have to pay over $20 an hour just to hire dishwashers.
Then connected to this is the news today that inflation has shot up 4.2%. Inflation, as you probably know, is the increase of prices for unchanged goods. The lumber at Home Depot one day is $1.00; and the next day it’s $1.04. Which doesn’t seem like much, until you look at your pay increase from last year. Mine - for which I was thankful for - was a cost of living increase, of around 3%. In other words, my income has effectively dropped.
Wallpapering with Dollars
Most of this can be stemmed back to another major decision, that the “stimulus” wallpapers over: the lockdowns of 2020. We spent a year working less, producing less, but still consuming, with stored up wealth, and with wealth “given” to us by the government.
But the government does not “give” its citizens money. That’s not a true way of seeing it. The government must either collect money from its citizens or borrow it, to “give” it. And either way, that money that is “given” comes off the backs of the citizens’ productive work.
So when the government “gives” its citizens money, it’s not a “gift”, no matter what your IRS letter from ResidentBiden says. It’s a loan. A loan that very few people asked for, even if it did give some of us a short-term financial breather. And loans need to be repaid. And when that loan/gift enters the economy, especially when resources are more scarce, it pushes up prices. More money, chasing fewer things to buy. Thus, prices rise, and your money buys less. And we have to pay back that loan, with less powerful dollars. Same bricks, less straw.
It’s hard to understand how we might think biblically about lockdowns and government stimulus payments - hard to find that anywhere in the Bible. But the Bible is very clear about debt (Proverbs 22:7):
7 The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
In other words, with the shekels, come the shackles. With the lockdowns, and the stimulus payments, we have become more and more like slaves to those who are wealthy and in power. It can’t help but be otherwise. Reality has a pesky way of always being, you know, there.
We let it happen, too, in our slavery to safety, and now we’re already making payments, in the form of higher prices, and therefore in decreased income. Which may last for some time. When the inflation news came out, markets dropped. This was a bad sign, because markets had already “baked in” inflation expectations into market prices. The drop shows that the numbers were worse than the market collectively thought.
All of this should not surprise us. For right after Proverbs 22:7, verse 8 says this:
8 Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of his fury will fail.
Isn’t it interesting that the writer’s train of thought moves directly from “With the shekels, come the shackles”, to “after tyranny, comes catastrophe”? Calamity, catastrophe - these always follow tyrannical stupidity. Too strong? Let’s see - we now have:
Enslavement to government-induced debt
Sex slavery abounding at the border, children being dumped there, all induced by our government
Slavery to the goddess Safety, with remaining lockdowns and restrictions
The threat of slavery to government power, if firearm restrictions are passed
The threat of slavery to government thought police, if the Equality Act is passed
But hey! No more mean tweets! Ammaright?
Taking Evasive Actions
So what should a Christian do?
Move. One option is to move to a “freer” place. Many states - one being Idaho - have determined to not enforce presidential orders from the White House. And they also (usually) have lower taxes, and a lower cost of living. You may find that your spending power can go up, even as inflation eats away at it, simply by moving. There are many factors to this, and I will write more on the topic of moving states later. But as Paul says in 1 Cor. 7:21, if you are enslaved, and you can avail yourself of the opportunity for freedom, go for it.
Learn to live on less. You can protect yourself, by learning to live on less now. One suggestion, since you asked, dear reader: you might begin by canceling subscriptions to big tech companies: Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. I’m not saying, “Throw away your iPad.” But cut back on those things that are of questionable long-term value. Spend locally, in your own town. Support the family down the street, who competes against Wal-Mart.
Pay down debt. One of the best ways to protect yourself from inflation is to pay down debt. Use the money the government “gave” you to pay down that credit card, or that car loan. In this way, you “increase” your income, against inflation losses.
Earn more money for your work. One way to beat inflation is by using it as an opportunity to learn more, and do more, with the same number of hours you have each week. The payoff will be down the road - not immediate, because any short-term “raise” you get will be offset by rising prices. But in the short-term, you will make yourself that much more competitive, as the marketplace for labor tightens. And you will set yourself and your family up for greater blessing in the future.
Get involved politically at the local level. Much of what we are experiencing has been artificially created by political decisions at the federal and state capitol level. But at the local level, there is still great power available, to disregard the royal edicts of our federal overlords and craft a different path. We may not be able to save the world, or even our country, but we can create pockets of sane, flourishing resistance.
Stay focused on the Mission. Many people are going to be puzzled and bewildered and frustrated in the coming days, with the thorny fruits of communistic governance. They will want to know that Something Better exists out there. And of course it does, and you, Christian, know Who He is. In all your own decisions, about moving or spending, don’t let those decisions distract or divert you from the mission. For even if Lord Reagan returned from the dead to “save” us from the encroaching darkness, it would only (again) be temporary. There is only one Risen Savior. Only one life, and it is only found in Him.
Stay free for the mission, on the mission.
The “P” is silent. Thanks, Doug.