Whole Cost Accounting
“Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” – Matthew 4:17
What if it is true that it would cost less to resolve poverty than it does to sustain it? What if it was true that it would cost less to resolve the environmental crisis than to sustain it? Paul Krugman of the New York Times seems to think so. But he is “just” a brilliant economist.
What if the time of God was closer and simpler than we think? Jesus seems to think so, but then he is “just a Messiah.”
So if Messiahs and brilliance can’t convince of the ease of repentance, what about my favorite diagnosis of the human condition? What if we are just plain cheap? Or so addicted to King Status Quo that no amount of AA or Al-Anon or hypnosis can cure us? Both salvation and justice are less expensive than their alternatives, spiritually and materially.
Whole cost accounting takes the whole price into account. It looks long; cheap people look short and can’t see beyond the King’s orders.
Stephen Lewis answers the question, “How do you make a million?” this way: “You start with $900,000.” Lots of people hang on to what they have and brag about how they are self-made, even though they inherited the car dealership from their parents. Does that accounting pay attention to whole cost accounting? Does it pay attention to what it really costs to have a bridge that gets you and your customers to your dealership?
James Baldwin says, “Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor. ” Genuinely cheap people would see how expensive their servitude is and repent. The time is near.
Open our eyes, true Reign, and let us see far and long into your future. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.