Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Values and Priorities

An edited version of my Morning Thought, for BBC Radio Wiltshire (not broadcast for some strange reason).
As from today Wiltshire has a unitary local authority. Great isn’t it? And also today, the leaders of the world’s 20 richest nations will be descending upon London in preparation for the G20 Summit. On the agenda: What on earth to do about the economic downturn. The connection between these two events? Well, in our globalised world everything is connected. Even before it starts our grand unitary authority has a hole in its finances. An 8 million pound hole to be exact. Why? Because the old Wilshire County Council invested a good chunk of our Council Tax money in an Icelandic bank. Not to mention North Wiltshire District Council’s missing 5 million. (I've checked my facts - see Aduit Commission report). We’ve been credit crunched. That’s globalisation for you, where the international and local collide. If nothing else, this reminds us of the interconnectedness of life. As the poet/preacher John Donne famously put it, “No man is an island entire of himself”.

Now, I’m not an economist. I find talk of “quantitative easing” and the sale of government gilts as baffling as the next person. But whatever global rescue plan the G20 Summit comes up with, there can be no return to the consumer boom of the last ten years, fuelled as it was by cheap credit. No more boom and bust, eh?

But perhaps the so-called credit crunch gives us an opportunity to reflect afresh on our values and priorities. What shall we put first in life, the material or the spiritual? Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and money”. He calls us to value treasure in heaven over treasure on earth. Only then we will be free from our obsession with material things. Jesus said to his followers,

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33).

I don’t know if that’s the message that we’ll be getting from the great world leaders. But it sounds good to me.
On BBC Radio Wiltshire around 6.25 each morning from Monday 30th March to Friday 3rd April. Frequency 103.6, 104.3 & 103.5 FM, or listen online.


Dave Nelson said...

Thank you for your insights. There is something larger and more directed going on here. Check out my blog for a long video which, in light of recent events, I do not think people will see as the results of an over-imaginative mind.

In the end, we who believe must not lose hope as you quote seeking God's kingdom first! God is also our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

I love your quip--a "Welsh preacher living in voluntary exile," good training for us pilgrims, eh? God bless you, brother.

Exiled Preacher said...

Hi Dave,

I only have 2 minues to speak on the radio, so all I can do is try to show how the Christian faith speaks to the current situation in a very brief and simple way.

Richard said...

As a wiltshire, indeed westbury, ex pat thanks for the council info, not sure it's such a great idea.

Exiled Preacher said...

Hi Richard,

I think this one got "banned" because of the rather embarrassing (but accurate!)figures I cited on the Council's missing millions. Can't have a poxy Baptist minister upsetting the unitary authority's Big Day by quoting facts! Whatever next?