Transforming the economies of Africa

Statistics show that +/- 81% of the South African population is Christian; with 56% of the population attending church at least once a week. If this is so – why is South Africa not reflecting a Christian culture in every area of society? Why is South Africa listed 69 out of 169 countries in the 2012 corruption index report and has the highest gap between the rich and poor in the world when Christianity is supposed to be built upon a foundation of righteousness and justice? Why does a nation like South Africa which is blessed with so many resources currently have one of the lowest labour productivity rates in the world and one of the lowest economic growth rates in Africa?

On the continental front – why is Africa the begging bowl of the world when we have been blessed with the most abundant natural resources – far more than any other continent? Africa is one of the most evangelised continents and yet is the most corrupt and poverty stricken, with 45 African countries occupying positions in the World Health Organisation’s list of the 50 countries in the world with the lowest life expectancy – a totally contradictory position to what the Bible says we should be experiencing as a result of the transforming and life giving power of the truth of the Gospel.

As African Christian leaders in both spheres of the church and the marketplace (business and government), these are critical questions that we now need to address.

So why are we in this position?

We are in this position because of two clear biblical reasons – (1) we are destroyed because of lack of knowledge (of God’s ways) and (2) we are destroyed because of disobedience(to God’s ways).

A critical constraint that is stopping us from effectively dealing with these issues is that we just don’t know what God’s blueprint is for the economy and hence we continue to put our trust in intellectual solutions that are based on the flawed rules of a man made economic system, instead of going back to the instructions and divine solutions of the architect of economics – God our Father. Africa (and every other continent for that matter) will continue to sink into a greater measure of darkness for as long as we think that we can find lasting solutions outside the framework of God’s instructions (as written in the Bible and revealed by the Holy Spirit on an ongoing basis).

The first word’s God spoke to mankind where a Family, Government and Economic mandate – (“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]” … Genesis 1:28 AMP) and the rest of His words to us in the Bible are filled with instructions on how we should take dominion of these 3 critical foundational building blocks of society. When we implement His ways in these 3 areas we will see restoration come into the economic value chain so that all people on earth will have sufficiency in provision (food, water, shelter, services, etc).

For the purposes of this article I would like to address a single critical difference between the man-made systems of economics that we currently operate under today and God’s Kingdom economic system.

Scarcity versus Abundance

Man-made economic systems are driven by the premise of scarcity whereas God’ Kingdom economic system is driven by the premise of abundance.

Wikipedia defines ‘scarcity as the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants and needs in a world of limited resources. It states that societyhas insufficient productive resources to fulfil all human wants and needs’.

In other words God created us His children and put us into a world that does not have enough resources for us to survive. This is effectively what world economics is saying everyday about God and sadly even us as the church have bought into this thinking, happily operate under it and sadly even contribute to the growth of this system of deception that is holding billions of people in captivity and blinding them from seeing a God who loves them.

By the way, the notion of ‘unlimited human wants’ as mentioned in the Wikipedia definition was birthed when the devil deceived mankind to desire and ultimately consume something in disobedience to God (the fall). This is what forms a huge part of the problem we face today and is an integral part of the broken world economic system. ‘In the Garden of Eden mankind fell by consuming a resource outside the will of God and today mankind continues to consume outside the will of God’; and this forms the very basis of the form of capitalism that the world economic system operates under today.

I truly believe that our belief in this lie of scarcity is one of the greatest sins we need to repent of because our belief in that every statement implies that God is unloving and effectively very ‘sadistic and sick’ because He created children and placed them in a world that does not have enough resources for them to survive and hence created them to suffer!!

The resultant behaviour of a scarcity driven economic system is excess accumulationbecause there might not be enough tomorrow, which drives greed because I have to accumulate as much for myself even at the expense of others, which drives materialismbecause the more I have the more secure I am, which drives bribery and corruption to acquire more through any means possible. It’s the Babylonian system of economy that is based on dependence on self apart from God because God did not create enough so therefore why should I expect or even rely on Him to look after me. ‘It’s the worship of mammon and hence the worst and most prevalent form of idol worship being practised 24 hours a day.’

This lie of scarcity is one of the devil’s (The father of lies) most potent tools to create disorder in the world and one which currently blinds billions of people from seeing the goodness of God. This one lie has resulted in mankind being used by the devil to do his primary work of stealing, killing and destroying so that billions remain lost as they fail to see the goodness and love of their Creator. Every war that has ever been fought on this planet, and the wars and conflicts taking place around the world right now are as a result of mankind trying to take ownership of scarce resources – in direct disobedience to God’s instructions for us to steward the abundant resources He gave us on this earth. The day we (you and I) as believers of Jesus Christ take up our mandate to bring about economic restoration by bringing back God’s economic system of ‘The stewardship of abundance’ into the world is the day we will see the start of a season that will result in billions of people having the veil of systemic poverty removed from their eyes to reveal a good God who loves them so much and has provided an abundant life for them (naturally here on earth and also in heaven). I believe when we deal with the economic issue we will see such a multitude of souls streaming into salvation as they realise who God truly is.

Jesus came to restore the abundant life that God originally intended for all mankind. (I have come so that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly – John 10:10b). Does the systemic poverty we see around us mean that Jesus failed to deliver on his mandate and promise of abundant life, or maybe is it that we as His disciples who have been given the task to implement and model His ways and instructions have failed to implement what He has told us to in order for this to manifest here and now?

Scarcity is the fruit of mankind’s failure to steward the vast/abundant resources that God created and has made available to us.

Wastage not scarcity

Research shows that a quarter of the world’s food is wasted. South Africa wastes 9 to 10 million tonnes of food each year. Rev Joel Edwards, International Coordinator of EXPOSED, the global Christian campaign aimed at exposing corruption said “Over US$1 TRILLION goes missing every year from the global economy as a result of corruption and it’s predicted that illegal tax evasion alone will be responsible for 5.6 million children dying in developing countries between 2000 and 2015. That’s 1,000 children every day”. I therefore ask the question – is there really scarcity in resources? Sadly these 5.6 million children will die probably without knowing the truth that they have a loving Father who actually provided abundantly for them but the resources could not get to them because of mankind’s failure to implement the Father’s economic system. I believe God’s heart is bleeding with grief and tears of pain are streaming down His face as He sees His children suffering in a world that He created with abundance because we have allowed the devil to deceive us into accepting a scarcity based economy as being the norm.

So what is the solution? – 2 Chronicles 7:14

The economy is the battlefield for the goodness of God and when we rise up to exercise Kingdom dominion in this area we will create a ‘salvation pipeline’ that will usher in the end time harvest as billions of people see God for the first time as a good God who loves them and has supplied abundance (spiritually and materially) for each person He has created and placed on the earth. It is time that we realise that we can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. We need to prayhumble ourselves (admit we have been doing it wrongly); seek the Lord’s face (seek His wisdom and ways) and turn from our wicked ways (replace our way of doing things with His way) so that He can hear our prayers, forgive our sins and heal our land.

In closing

Presidents of Nations are desperately seeking answers to economic restoration and growth. It’s time for us as the collective body of Christ to take the wisdom of God’s Kingdom Economic blueprint to them.Could we be in the Kairos season right now where God will lift up the so called ‘dark’ continent that has been last in the world economy into the leading position so that it becomes the shining ‘light’ to demonstrate Kingdom Economy to the rest of the world?We are in the appointed time for Africa to ‘Arise and shine’ and release the glory of God!