The natural man is surprisingly dumb when it comes to economics. He makes virtually no end of bad deals.
Consider the following, purely fictional, account. A wife expresses a concern to her husband. She’s having a problem, or anticipates that a problem is coming. She’s pretty committed to the fact that it’s bad. She’s walking through the valley of the shadow of freaking out.
The husband has what the wife needs. It may be extra information, it may be bigger perspective, it may be a practical plan, it may be just kindness and comfort. But often he puts the exact wrong condition on the transaction. He says, not verbally, but through his impatience and defensiveness and anger, “I want to help you with your problem but first you need to stop freaking out.” But her freaking out is the problem, and here she is, asking for help. She is not the dummy.
Consider another scenario. You have a vision to start a new business but not the capital to get going. You visit a bank and ask to borrow some money, and you’re even willing to wear out your good pen in order to sign all the papers promising to pay the bank back plus extra for the privilege of using the loan. Let’s assume that the business plan is reasonable. Would you think it reasonable for the manager to deny the loan because you don’t have enough money? Not having enough money is why you’re there in the first place.
This is not the way Jesus treats us. The gospel is a better transaction. Jesus does not wait for us to get cleaned up before He cleanses us. He washes the dirty. And He doesn’t withhold food from us until we can show that we don’t need it. He feeds us when we’re hungry. He feeds us first. This is good news, and it is for all who believe.