As Christians, you and I live in two different realms or dimensions of life: The spiritual and the physical; the visible and the invisible; the tangible and the intangible. Most folks would say that reality is what you can see, touch, taste, smell, or hear. I kick the leg of the table in front of me and say, "this is real!" I hold up the book in front of me, and I say, "this is real." But this is not what God says is real. Listen to his word:
"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (II Corinthians 4:16-18)
The permanent, the lasting, the unseen - those are the ultimate realities for the Christian. Therefore, our values, our lives and our hopes cannot rest on what is seen. Things which can be touched, felt, heard, tasted, and smelled, are not where our trust belongs. Everything we see and touch around us is merely a visible counterpart of a greater and invisible reality. Paul hints at this when he says: "… since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and diving nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…" (Romans 1:20)
God is the main reality! Everything we see is a reflection of his handiwork. Money is no exception. If we allow our economic reality to be confined to our bank accounts, our houses, our cars, even our employment, then we are saying that God is not the ultimate reality of our economic lives. If, on the other hand, God is all-in-all and is more real to us than even these physical resources, then we shall never lack!
Why is this? If God is the greatest of all realities, then no need can exist beyond his capacity to supply it. Our role is to praise him, even before the need is met, for his having met that need! We do this in spite of the fact that the answer to our need may not be visible when we begin to praise. But through the exercise of our belief through faith, we can take a trip into the realm of the unseen. Through faith we can know God and see what is really real. This world is one of competition and of the economic theory of scarcity, one in which more and more people pursue fewer and fewer resources. God's reality is an economic world of abundance, for which we should continually be giving thanks, and which can be shared in by all. God is calling us to shift our economic vision toward that reality. God is calling us to His economics of abundance as opposed to the economics of scarcity.
I am praying that all of us in the Diocese of Florida, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will make that shift from seeing economics and stewardship as a question of scarce resources toward a vision of stewardship and giving in terms of a limitless abundance of blessings. That shift in world view, that shift in our vision of reality, will lead us to give more and more and will enable us to do more and more of God's work here in the Diocese of Florida and in the world.
+S. J. Howard