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

Chapter Two: Fundamentals of Economic Behavior 36 GAINS FROM TRADE IN THE BIBLE? 1 Corinthians 12 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. The body of Christ is intended to have diversity, just as there is diversity within the Trinity. While each person of the Trinity is equally God (and each are wholly part of each action of the Trinity), Scripture describes each as having different functions. We see different roles both in Creation and salvation: God the Father wills, and God the Holy Spirit moves through God the Son—all working in unity for our good. As the body of Christ, when we model this unity in diversity, we are enabled to serve others. If we were all the same, there would be no need for the gifts each one of us brings. As the Apostle Paul clearly states, in God’s sovereign plan each person brings a different spiritual gift, and each gift is equally valued and equally necessary for the health and full functioning of the body. When the body of Christ, in all its diversity, acts in unity, the impact is both profound and effective. This is the same lesson we see in our daily vocation in economies: as we produce according to the skills and resources God has given us and socially cooperate with others by trade, overall production is significantly higher to the benefit of all. Ephesians 4:15-16 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. We are not meant to live in isolation, either spiritually or vocationally. Since the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another, we must be in community. Applying our differing natural endowments for the good of others is one way to demonstrate our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. In this chapter we will start to explore reasons for and the benefits of social cooperation through trade.