Posted on in Blog by The Rev. David Marshall
When someone talks about “the economy,” she is talking about jobs and commerce and manufacturing and consumer spending. Theologians use the word “economy” as well, but the meaning is somewhat different. God’s economy is what God is doing in and with creation. God’s economy is what God is doing in our lives, in our families, in our congregations and neighborhoods.
Just as in the consumer economy of our culture, there are transactions and goods involved in God’s economy. Instead of consumer electronics, cars and food, God’s economy is concerned with relationships, compassion, mercy, and especially with love.
You Can Live in God’s Economy
We all live in and participate in the economy of our country and our world. We participate in the consumer economy that is driven by our spending and our earning. Jesus invites us to shift our focus and live in God’s economy. That’s why he says such radical things. “So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” (Luke 14:33) “Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 16:25)
Your Spending Can Guide You
If you want to know what values you are actually living, look at where you spend your money. Look through your spending for the past year and categorize what you spent money on. When I did this, years ago, I was dismayed to discover that my spending did not at all reflect the values I hold in my heart. I was able to change that by making conscious choices about where to spend my money. My wife and I decided that the most decisive thing we could do to align our spending with our values was to begin to tithe to our church.
I was nervous about giving that much money. I worried that I would not have enough for other things. What I experienced was a wonderful abundance. I was living in accord with my values, and I experienced greater satisfaction and peace.
A Lazarus $1 Story
This morning I spoke with a friend who attended worship at St. Dunstan’s Church on the Sunday when we heard the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). In the sermon I gave out $1 to each person there and asked you to use that $1 to see the needs of others. This friend gave the dollar to a street performer who was telling jokes. Rather than just drop the dollar in the fellows hat, my friend decided that he would spend a little time getting to know the guy. It turned out he had been a doctor (like my friend) who lost his wife and then lost his career to addiction. He is now living on the street making his way as a performer and beggar. That $1 allowed my friend to meet this man and hear his story in a way that made a difference.
Use your money and your love to live in God’s economy. Living by faith and charity, mercy and love is the true reward of life. The transformed life that Jesus offers happens in God’s economy.
Yours in Christ,