My brain fills up with light bulbs. I read Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics on my bed, on the floor, on the sofa, in the grocery store. I scrawl into the margins a summarizing sentence for each paragraph: “money talks,” or “the shocking supermarket,” or “loss is important for efficiency.”
As a college senior taking 19 credits, I have no time for systematic margin-summary. And as a thoroughly right-brained beast, I doubted I should so enjoy an assigned book on economics. But I love Sowell’s fat text. I look up from reading, wide-eyed. I say, “It’s so true.”
Our professor sums up economics this way: We have limited resources and unlimited desires.
We sit in rows in the blue room, listening to him.
I sit amidst the 19-credit crisis I mentioned before. I just received in my mailbox a bad paper I wrote last semester. I glimpsed the score backward through the last page, but lacked the courage to read the comments. Sleepy senior, semester eight, stretching her limits and vaguely waiting for a sunnier day. I want to write new papers, go to parties, talk forever with friends, ace exams. I’ve never known a kinder place, and I want to suck every ounce of life out of my last few months at this college. My desires for doing exceed my resource. Thus, economics.
My parents live on boiled cabbage so that I may go to college, and finish. So I become a busy person plagued by the laundry I left in the wash, by that $10 bill I can’t find—the one I need to change to quarters so I can dry my laundry. That $50 edition of Shakespeare I need to pick up at the bookstore flickers across my mind, as does the face of my new chiropractor. He disbelieves me when I insist that between visits I apply the right amount of heat and ice to the knots in my shoulders. I live in a world of scarce resources. Not enough time. Not enough order. Not enough peace and quiet. But plenty of desires.
“Any questions?” asks the economics professor.
I want to ask him, “Do we have any chance of living in a universe without limits? Where our resources will match our unlimited desires?”
My next class, eschatology, answers my question. Eschatology: last things, the end times, God’s final acts. Far from existing as a dogmatic subject obsessed with irrelevant details about the end of the world, eschatology, studied well, lends life. It means that soon creation will stop groaning and that Adam’s curse will lift.
We read through the book of Daniel, a tight group of six students sitting around a table with a professor who loves Jesus. We learn of God’s sovereignty over nations, that He triumphs in trials and humbles the haughty and saves people from lions and furnaces. Most of all, He builds a kingdom not made with hands. We’ll have enough time. Enough order. Enough peace and quiet. Best of all, the fulfillment of unlimited desire. God’s economy.