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How does our vision of the future affect our choices now?

Faithful Finances, Week Three

The Rev. David Collins


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Today, I want us to think about one simple, but powerful, question. It affects how we spend, save and give our money. And it affects all of our other choices, whether we’re conscious of it or now.


How does our vision of the future affect our choices now?


When it comes to personal finance issues like saving, it’s really easy to see how this applies. People who aren’t future oriented, either because they just aren’t wired that way, or because of consistent disappointment, don’t tend to save as much as those who are. Or when you have a specific, measurable goal that you’re saving for, like a car or a trip, it’s much more motivating, than just saving for a general rainy day. Depending on your personal vision of the future, you might be more of a grasshopper, or you might be more of an ant.


When it comes to money, some people are much more motivated by the past than by the future. I think some memories of the Great Depression might even have entered into our DNA. I think they have for mine. Why else would I wrap up the tiniest leftovers in Saran Wrap, that I have no intention of ever eating, forcing Megan to throw them away when I’m out of the house?


What I’m most interested in exploring today is OUR collective vision of the future. When we imagine what the world will be like in 50, or 100, or a thousand years…what do we see? What’s our vision? And how does that vision affect the choices we make, both big and small, today?

Is our vision captured by Star Trek, where humanity has solved most of its problems and takes off to explore the galaxy? Or is our vision more like Mad Max? Where we live as slaves in camps run by war lords and kill over the gasoline that’s left?

I think we’d all like to think our vision is Star Trek, but our choices indicate it’s probably Mad Max. We’re a little too comfortable with the logic of the cartoon below, With the man in the tattered suit explaining to children around a campfire in an wasteland “Yes, the planet got destroyed. But for a beautiful moment in time, we created a lot of value for shareholders.”

I think we’d all like to think our vision is Star Trek, but our choices indicate it’s probably Mad Max. We’re a little too comfortable with the logic of the cartoon below, With the man in the tattered suit explaining to children around a campfire in an wasteland “Yes, the planet got destroyed. But for a beautiful moment in time, we created a lot of value for shareholders.”




Our choices indicate that our vision of the future is pretty bleak. Maybe because we don’t think we can make a difference.

We’re not the first people to face a fork in the road like this, though. The ancient world when through many apocalypses, though they were more localized. The people of Israel weren’t capable of destroying the climate, but they did see their nation conquered more than once, and asked that easy question with hard answers…why?

Today’s scripture is the hopeful, later, part of that answer. The first, harder part was the truth that the prophets of God shared over and over again. That what God cared about wasn’t the appearance of holiness, but the hard work of goodness. Today’s scripture is a promise for the future from the prophet Micah.

Micah lived and served as a prophet during a tumultuous time in the history of God’s people. The northern kingdom of Israel had become so far-gone that he never even referred to it. He spoke for God during the reigns of good kings and evil kings, putting into context why God allowed Jerusalem to fall to the Assyrian empire. Through Micah, God told the people that what God truly cared about wasn’t temples and the appearance of righteousness and success, but that they “did justice, and loved mercy, and walked humbly with God”. Micah was the first to tell the people that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and would come to rule the world and bring peace. And like all the other prophets, Micah testified to the truth that peace meant enough for everyone, enough food, enough dignity, and enough love.

This passage is a vision of the future God intends for the earth.

Let’s look at Micah 4:1-4, together.

It starts out like this:


In the days to come

Now, let me break this down for us. These words in the original Hebrew mean exactly the same thing that they do in English. So in the days to come means in the days to come. Not a someday that will always be a someday. But actual days like today. We don’t put our faith in the sweet by and by, but in the real here and now.

In days to come

the mountain of the Lord’s temple,

shall be established as the highest of the mountains

and shall be raised up above the hills.

Micah is talking here about Jerusalem. That it would be restored to its glory, and no longer be tossed to and fro by conquerors with empires, and god-complexes.

Peoples shall stream to it,

2 and many nations shall come and say:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob,

that he may teach us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

Now, this is partly a vision of the victory of the Lord, that formerly hostile nations will come to see the truth about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But it is also an oracle of reason one day winning the race, that nations will not just choose from among their preselected options, that they will move beyond the politics of the possible, beyond the tyranny of the next election, and be guided by the truth no matter what it is, or how uncomfortable it makes us.

Can you imagine? You should! Nations saying, “Let us go find out the truth that exists outside of our own structures and set ways of thinking? Let us be taught the ways of the One who is greater than us, not just the one we believe already agrees with us?”

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

3 He shall judge between many peoples

and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;

How does that work right now? Arbitration between strong nations? We know how it usually goes when there is a conflict between a strong nation and weak one. The strong one wins. Unless the other one is Ukraine.

But between strong nations? Who arbitrates? They have to figure it out for themselves, making compromises. But Micah promises that one day all