Article 17 | Jubilee
Once upon a time there was a Bear and Bee who lived in a wood and they were the best of friends. All summer long the Bee collected nectar from morning to night while the bear lay on his head basking in the sun. When winter came the Bear realized he had nothing to eat and thought to himself “I hope that busy Bee will share some his honey with me”. But the Bee was nowhere to be found – he had died of a stress induced coronary disease.
How do economics work in the kingdom of God?
How can I have the American dream?
Consumerism is the religion that most challenges our fidelity to God. It devours our resources, gives our lives a distorted focus and meaning, and can dominate our thoughts and through it develop harmful to soul crushing habits of character.
Christ’s teachings regarding money are primarily about distributive justice, provision for the local community, mutual aid and a life of service over wealth or power.
Here are some of thoughts of how we can begin living Jubilee in our community:
1. Resources are not simply for our personal entertainment and support but for God’s common good and stewardship.
2. If we view our fellow disciples with the same brotherly kindness that we do our natural families, we’ll naturally want to share our resources with them. The biblical text tells us they are family who need to be loved, cared for and have their needs looked after. This isn’t always financial provision, as anything can bring about excess and dependency. But intelligent concern and engagement need to be shared to help those in need.
3. The direction of meaningful resources to the body of Christ and the poor.
5. As a community we work to establish and maintain a geographical proximity, so that we can share our lives each day as we meaningfully support and enjoy one another. Doing so provides us with the opportunity to serve each other through normal human need. For instance, activities like babysitting, commuting to work, caring for each other when sick or with a newborn baby, or simply helping members while moving, life planning, or even exercising. The list of opportunities to serve each other and hence Jesus (Matthew 25:40) is limitless.
6. Opening our homes to people when they need somewhere to stay. This helps us “die to ourselves” and encourages us interact with others, as we would “love ourselves.”
Recommended Reading: Citizenship Papers, by Wendell Berry, Resident Aliens, by Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon, The Politics of Jesus, by John Howard Yoder, The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer Agenda For Biblical People, and Call to Conversion, by Jim Wallis, and Passion for Peace, by Thomas Merton