Here at the Disciple Nations Alliance we speak much about the role of worldview in development and how the metaphysical capital of a biblical worldview can lead to the flourishing of a people and nation.
You may be thinking, Metaphysical capital? What’s that?
In development circles people talk of the need for economic capital, material capital such as natural resources, social capital, and intellectual capital for building a thriving community and nation.
Metaphysical capital is ideas. Not just any ideas, but the fundamental notions by which people understand life and with which they shape their lives. Metaphysical capital is the basic set of ideas about life on which people build their lives and societies
The question is What is the metaphysical capital for building a flourishing individual life, community and nation?
Recently I saw an online advertisement that suggested an answer. It read, “The art of living life to the fullest.”
Curious, I clicked the ad and read,
A life of “doing” trumps a life of “having” every time. Money spent on things like travel, special days with loved ones and learning something new, lead to a sense of fulfillment far superior to accumulating physical possessions. Don’t just live a little … live a lot!
The ad showed photos of people “doing” all sorts of entertaining activities from fishing to snorkeling.
Many of us would agree that doing is more fulfilling than having. But does it matter what we do? Is the notion of doing all sorts of entertaining and stimulating things sufficient metaphysical capital for building a truly flourishing life and nation? A look at history and real life indicate it is not. So, what is?
We find the answer in the biblical worldview. In the Bible we see God has added one more essential element to this idea. This is to do things or to do life in a way that benefits others—to love your neighbor as yourself. My colleague, Bob Moffitt, calls this the irreducible minimum of all God’s commands in the Bible.
Booker T. Washington, born a slave and founder of Tuskegee Institute, experienced this to be true. He said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
Doing life in a way that benefits others does not have to be huge or complicated. For example, my good friend regularly walks his dog and once a week takes a plastic bag and picks up any trash he finds along the way. For him, doing a walk becomes a way to benefit others in his neighborhood.
My wife does this when checking out at a store by recognizing and engaging in some small way with the clerk. Doing checkout becomes a way to benefit another.
This idea of “benefiting others” may not seem very significant, but multiply it by the number of activities in your day. Multiply that again by the number of people in a nation. Now you have a formula for thriving. You have the metaphysical capital for building an individual life, community, and nation that flourishes and prospers.
God knows this because he designed and set it up this way. Thus, he commands us to love our neighbor because he loves us and wants us to flourish. This is the Biblical worldview and metaphysical capital that leads to the flourishing of people and nations.
– Dwight Vogt
Pat StockMarch 17, 2014 - 9:46 am
Great article, Dwight, and well put!