No Free Lunch: Economics for a Fallen World: Third Edition, Revised

Chapter Ten: It’s all About the Institutions! 225 DON’T BE ANXIOUS! 1 Peter 5:6-7 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Matthew 6:25-33 25 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Why are we anxious? Isn’t the real reason we become anxious because we don’t really trust God? Maybe He really is a far-off deist God (a god who “winds up the clock” but then allows it to go on its own); maybe He doesn’t really love me; maybe He’s mad at me and waiting to zap me; or maybe He’s really not all powerful? I suppose there could be other reasons, but in essence, being anxious shows a lack of trust in God. Yet almost all of us are anxious from time to time. I once heard the theologian R.C. Sproul say that Romans 8:28 i s the most quoted and least believed verse in the whole Bible! He may have a point. Because we are human, we face an uncertain future—we live in real time. And not seeing the future forces us to either put our trust in God or live in our own inadequate strength, which often leads to a pretty miserable outcome. Yet God in His mercy has also explicitly ordained certain institutions that reduce uncertainty in the market (such as government that can prosecute fraud and protect property rights). In addition, many other institutions help reduce entrepreneurs’ uncertainty (customs, mores, norms of behavior). In the market, entrepreneurs have to face an uncertain future. Just as Christians learn to rely and trust in God, market participants must learn from and be able to trust institutions to provide them with actionable information. When institutions work well, economies tend to work well. When institutions don’t, entrepreneurs are less willing to take risks, make investments, and grow our economy.