The eternal lesson of inflation

Max Jeganathan considers our current inflation crisis and how Jesus' call to a greater treasure remains timelessly valuable and necessary.

Creeping interest rates, rising gas bills and expensive lettuce are evidence of the worst inflation Australia has experienced in more than thirty years.

As a mortgagor who is preparing to move back to Australia in a couple of months, waiting on the next Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meeting is like waiting in line for the dentist.

But it got me thinking: As we try to outrun the inflation monster, is there anything to be learned from the chase?

A closer look at inflation reveals that things are becoming more expensive because our money is becoming less valuable – even if we have more of it (in fact, *because* we have more of it).

It doesn’t sound right, but it’s true: More money, but poorer.

Around two thousand years before our last inflation figures came in, a Jewish carpenter with no economics training warned: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures here on earth where moth and rust consume and thieves break in and steal…”

The rust, moths and theft of the 21st century look more like inflation and the broader volatility we face – in our superannuation accounts, our stock market, our bank balances and our mortgages.

But Jesus’ response to this volatility remains the same: a call instead to “store up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not consume”. It’s an invitation to invest our resources, our time, our energy, our very selves, in the things that matter most and last the longest – in defiance of our very real but often all-consuming cost of living concerns. It’s a reminder I needed to hear before the RBA’s next meeting.