Way back when I attended college I had certain courses that I had to take for my undergrad degree in business administration. I had to take two courses in Economics (microeconomics and macroeconomics) to satisfy the requirements for my degree. Economics was not my field of study, but I needed to have a certain basic understanding to help with my foundation in my core concentration. I really didn’t care for the subject of Economics, and I used to joke that if I had insomnia all I needed to do was to get out one of my Econ textbooks, and I would be asleep in no time flat. But, I digress. One of the first things that we learned in Economics 101 was supply and demand drives the market. But, what also still sticks in my mind is the discussion of guns and butter. This model of guns and butter shows how there are only so many things in which a nation can produce, given the resources they have. Guns represents the defense of the nation, while butter represents the consumer goods. Using this model shows how a nation will have to decide just how much effort goes into defense and just how much goes into consumer goods to fulfill it’s needs.
It may sound to you that I’m a bit off in writing about economics when discussing faith, but hang in there with me, I hope by the time I’m through pontificating, that my line of reasoning will make sense to you. We too have guns and butter decisions to make in our own lives. That’s because there is no way that we can possibly be everywhere and physically do everything that we need to have happen in our lives. I don’t know anyone that can simultaneously grow all of their own food, build everything from scratch that is needed to form their home, design and build their own vehicles, etc. The amount of things that each and everyone of us would have to do on our own would be staggering. That’s where the economic model of guns and butter discussion comes into play in our own lives. We decide upon what we will focus, usually that becomes our career, and we let others specialize in other fields. We get our goods from the labors of others, because we simply cannot specialize in everything.
It plays out in the business world. Even though large businesses have staff that fill most of the roles to enable the business to run successfully, they too sometimes need help. They need advice, and when they do they usually look to outside consultants. I’ve interfaced with many consultants during my tenure in the corporate world. They’ve ranged from efficiency experts, to corporate trainers, and a full-range in between. They bring in fresh perspectives along with expertise to help the business make wise decisions for it’s short- and long-term future.
In our personal lives, many of us also have our own consultants. There are people whom we love and/or respect that help guide us through our lives. We have parents, siblings, teachers, relatives, pastors, spouses, friends. etc. – all to whom we can turn when seeking direction for successful short- and long-term life decisions. In Christian circles some of us also have someone to whom we refer as an Accountability Partner – a person who coaches another on their faith life, walk with God, and helps their partner stay focused.
Many Christians have accountability partners, and it seems that this works well for them. They grow in faith together and they can trust that their partner has their best interest at heart. They can talk about anything together, and trust that what they say remains between the two of them. It’s a awesome model, but not one to which I’ve participated. I’ve never had an accountability partner in my life. I approached a few people in the past and requested that they consider entering into an accountability partnership with me, but for some reason or another, it never materialized.
So, when I have a rather important decision to make I know that I cannot and should not make important decisions in a vacuum – just like in the guns and butter model of economics, I know that I don’t know and understand everything that goes into making the decision. I need to turn to others. I can talk with my spouse. I can consult a friend who has great Biblical knowledge and practical advice on faith. I can research what trusted Christian experts have to say. But, where do I ultimately end up, and where does the best of all advice come from? For me, it’s from the source of all knowledge and wisdom – God. I pour over scriptures. I reflect in my journal. I pray, pray, pray. I stop and I listen to that still small voice in my soul that comes from the Holy Spirit. Then I wait. I act. I trust. Jesus is my accountability partner. And, whether or not God brings me a human accountability partner, Jesus will always remain my accountability partner – the ultimate adviser.
“Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24b, ESV)