Being a poor man, I like deflation. When the Saudi Arabians declared war on the people of North Dakota awhile back, a dirty, greasy, little secret was exposed. Somebody is still making money with petrol at $1.40 per gallon. At times, gasoline prices have the potential to drop to as low as $1.00 per gallon. Rich people use more fuel than poor people, so they like lower prices, too. There is a catch for them, however. When fuel prices deflate, it is an indication of lessening demand and abundant supply. When economies are humming along, people are consuming fuel. So, questions arise, “Is this just more supply caused by fracking in North Dakota, or has China’s growth gone flat?” People speculate because no one really knows the value of anything.
Market prices are determined by supply and demand for everything, but when governments prop up or skim something, it is confusing to the marketplace. There is an artificial element to the price of something, and this creates a disparity in honest trading. Someone is going to make money, and someone is going to lose money, and this requires special knowledge or a savvy to play the market at the right time. What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world but loses His own soul?
It is imperative in the marketplace of the world to distract men from kingdom of God. The value of Jesus Christ in someone’s life will have an impact on the way they value the world, especially the things of this world. Jesus Christ is not good for business from the world’s perspective. Spiritual things have no value in the material world marketplace, and they only serve as a distraction to someone producing a profitable product. Of course, world religions produce material products to appease the god of this world. Religious products remain big business in the world, and the world has no problem creating a market for such things.
There is a fortunate twist to deflation in market prices. With the decline in business and loss of employment comes a soul searching that is typically void in bull markets. Bulls are symbolic of fertility gods, and men worship the high prices bulls seem to produce. Bears are notorious destroyers, and only those who hedge against the market bubbles enjoy bear markets (deflation). Men tend to become more spiritual when bears are roaming around the neighborhood.
Death is the ultimate bear. When it looms in someone’s life, the world loses all of its value; or at least it should, hypothetically. Some people will cling to things in this world while their souls slip into eternal hell. Their sitzmark left on the slippery slope is quickly groomed over so others will not seriously consider their demise. It is the work of the Christian preacher to inform people of the value of the kingdom of this world. It is worthless.
Christian preachers are not appreciated for this labor of exposure, and they are quickly dealt with if they persist. Some preachers defect to join the world in promoting the delusion of value. Others simply drop out and let people evaluate for themselves. Faithful preachers know and proclaim the difference between the two kingdoms. The city of God and the city of man is how St. Augustine referred to it. Martin Luther preached it as two competing kingdoms, and men have positioned themselves where they feel the best advantage resides for them, personally. Some choose to co-mingle the kingdoms in attempted harmony, while others see a sharper distinction.
Money is the answer to everything, and men of God, given the stewardship of Gospel truth, are responsible for telling people the truth. Worldly people do not wish to hear biblical truth on the subject of valuing this world. Worldly Christians do not appreciate it, either. Christians want their luxury homes, cars, second homes, boats, jet skis, and holiday vacations. Shrewd Christians will invest in the world markets to make even more money than their own labors provide.
How foreign Jesus’ teaching is to rich Christians. “Do not store up treasures on earth,” competes with the proverbial ant, who is storing up for a rainy day. In the end, biblical teaching is awash with self-justification and rationalization. We want to have our hot cross buns and eat them, too. Who wants to be his neighbor’s judge? Still, judgment day is coming, and we must all give an account to God for our stewardship of all that belongs to Him and that passed through our hands (2 Cor 5:10).
All people come into the world with nothing, and all people leave the world with nothing (1 Tim 6:7). This is hardly a deterrent for worldly market participants. Covetousness, theft, greed, arbitrage, inside information, and speculation is nothing new. Despite gaining the whole world, or at least the attempt at it, men lose their own souls because they value wrong things. They convince themselves God is pleased with them; but if God were pleased with them, would we not hear more of Jesus Christ from them?
Conversations in the coffee house confirm the location of most men’s minds. Oil prices, local gossip, socialism, polluted water, pandemic, and the weather remain hot topics within my earshot. In my experience, there is nothing like the name, “Jesus Christ,” to produce an aposiopesis. Men are left speechless when public conversation turns to the kingdom of God and the King of kings. The marketplace for the salvation of souls has little demand prompting supply. When psychologists and social media influencers speak, people listen; but when Jesus Christ speaks, few people listen.
The supplier of salvation is God Almighty (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). He has valued His salvation in the world, and His evaluation is, “priceless.” Men do not agree with God, for if they did, they would seek out their own salvation. The Bible says, there is no one who seeks after God, no, not one (Rom 3:11). There is zero demand for the most valuable eternal possession. God is merciful to continue product promotion and placement, for if He stopped, there would be no salvation. Fortunately, He has contracted with man (Jesus Christ), in a covenant of grace, to remain a faithful provider, regardless of the state of current demand by men.
God, the heavenly supplier of this invaluable item, has commissioned agents to bring more information into the world marketplace. They are called, “preachers.” Men are busy in their fields, shops, offices, factories, and funeral homes. Few find value in the agents’ product claims. Funding for the promotion of the kingdom is also limited because Christians have undervalued the kingdom of Christ. This demonstrates the influence of the competitor, Satan, causing a depreciation of heavenly values. Presenteeism is problematic in the church, too. “We believe, therefore, we speak,” is a forgotten maxim for many Christians.
Competition is fierce, and one competitor seems to have won the allegiance of worldly consumers. People buy into the deceit of the competitor. He convinces them, they have no need for what God is giving away for free. “There is no such thing as a free salvation,” is the mantra of men’s minds.
If there is an interest, the competitor encourages consumers to work for their salvation. God rejects this method because it is theft of His glory and grace. Shockingly, God has paid the price-in-full for salvation to be distributed. Salvation is a free gift of God.
Why will men die, go to just judgment, and spend eternity in hell? The answer is an economic one. They simply do not value what God says is most valuable. The competitor and his marketplace vie for and win their souls. Peoples’ affections were set and remained on the things of this world. Only when a sporadic deflation in the kingdom of this world suddenly awakens them, do they even consider what is most important.
Jesus Christ is Himself the salvation accomplished by God for people. He must be valued above all else, or people remain in their idolatrous bad investment in this world. Agents continue to herald the good news of free salvation provided by no one else but Jesus Christ. The call to consumers is, “Come and buy without cost.” A gracious gift has been given to all who come to Christ. You must commit to forsaking the competitor’s cheap imitations at vanity fair, however. It is an all or nothing transaction. One cannot have the world and heaven, too. Some biblical inside information may be helpful. Read 2 Peter 3:10–12 for the futures commodity price for the world.
A season of deflation in the kingdom of this world occurs on occasion. Can you see the difference between $1.00 and $5.00 for a gallon of gasoline? The greater fool pays $5.00, and then the exposure of an overinflated market becomes clear. You have played the fool. Petrol is in good supply despite the scarcity-mongers, who always profit greatly from your fears.
Come, let us reason. There is something far more important than a worldly commodity. It is the salvation of your soul. Who will believe our report? The wise man first considers and then values his eternal existence after his own death. Are you a wise investor? Have you made your investment in the kingdom of heaven? Have you valued Jesus Christ above all else?
If not, may today be the market day of your salvation. Come to the Cross of Jesus Christ, where God has graciously made the payment for all your sins (Col 2:14). Jesus Christ has opened a supply chain of grace for you to receive the blessings of new, abundant, and eternal life. Receive Him and you will receive them. Trust Christ, for only in Him is there any value in this world.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 11, 2021