Failure to see the future coming condemns societies to poverty.
One of the things I have heard over and over again in my years working among the poor is the fatalistic mantra, “We are poor and there is nothing we can do about it!” People who think this way have succumbed to the lie that “History is something that happens to you.” Nothing ever changes, nothing ever will. There is no future, only the past. There is no vision for the creation of wealth and human flourishing.
In the West today there is a rampant narcissism. There is no past and no future, only the endless present. There is no delayed gratification so that the future may be better for our children and grandchildren; there is endless consumption, the use of credit cards to mortgage our future. Instant gratification is the mark of the modern generation. We see this in the global economic collapse of Europe in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Our consumerism is consuming us. It will lead to the pauperism of the global economy. In a materialistic society, we live for ourselves and for the moment.
This manipulation of property and wealth so as to maximize short-term gain and personal consumption is captured in the Greek word chrematistics. In contrast is the Greek word oikonomia, from which we get the English “economics.” Oikonomia means the management or stewardship of a household so as to increase its value for the benefit of all its members into the future.
|“’The mind of the present age acting on the mind of the next,’ as it has been happily defined by a living writer, is an object of concern to every being endowed with intellect, or interested either through love or hope, in another generation.”
Lydia Sigourney, Pg. 9
Lydia Sigourney and her generation were operating from an oikonomia framework. Their mindset was shaped by Judeo-Christian worldview. They recognized that history is linear; there is past, present, and future. The past was to be celebrated for its good things, the present enjoyed for the benefits of life, and the future dreamt of, anticipated and planned for.
We are to have an interest in the next generation. The pilgrimage on which God sent our first parents is multi-generational. We were commissioned to “be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth!” This is the social mandate to fill the earth, not with mouths to be fed, but with families of God-image bearers who can plan and work toward a flourishing future. In the biblical framework, people were able to be innovative and creative. They could dream dreams of places they had never seen or worlds they had never visited. Then these dreamers were to build in space and time, to fulfill the development mandate to bring progress to the earth. Our children and grandchildren will inherit the future we build!
If we are endowed with an intellect; if we love the next generation; if we want to see it flourish … then we must use the knowledge and wisdom we have inherited to educate those coming behind us. Not for ourselves, but for our children, our grandchildren, and the generations to follow.
- Darrow Miller
This post is the seventh in a series on maternal feminism.