ECONOMY IN CRISIS!!! It’s been headline news every single day for months. Economy in Christ, has been the Good News for two thousand years and it’s time that our churches rediscover that and live it out.
The global economic meltdown isn’t just news anymore. It has impacted our communities, including our churches. I live in a city with a massive Ford plant; we’re the home of the Windstar. People feel the threat. They are sleepless with uncertainty and furious with whomever they think they can blame.
So here’s my question – now that everyone is talking about the economy and feeling the pinch of unemployment and financial ruin, can we have an honest conversation as the church around what an economy in Christ could actually be? Is the silver lining of this moment that we might finally trade in our consumption-aligned ecclesiology for a prophetic voice of communal living? I don’t mean let’s preach more on tithing so our charitable organizations can maintain the music budget or let’s run financial management and resume writing courses. But can we actually talk about what it meant in Acts 4, when all the believers were together and shared their lives?
And what should it mean, today, to us?
Of course the Scriptures offer us a great resource in comfort passages like Matthew 6:25-44, where Jesus tells us that we don’t need to worry about anything because God will meet our physical needs. Or Paul’s poetic confession in Philippians 4 where he muses, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
These passages can be incredibly hopeful for those in our churches that are unemployed or not sure where their next rent payment will come from. But my suspicion is that not far below the surface of these words is a radical call to communal discipleship for all of us. My fear is that the voice of God in these words is for you and I to live a reckless generosity without the worry of economic self-preservation.
Is it possible that the message of comfort for those devastated by the faltering world economy will be nothing more than trite and meaningless words if not accompanied by a biblical response where we, the church, become the Good News, the economic expression of God in flesh?
So rather than an opportunity for cheap travel, is this season an opportunity to pay another’s mortgage? Instead of running up our conference and book budgets are we prepared to make those resources available to local food banks?
I would love to hear from my colleagues as to how you are leading and pastoring people in the midst of our current reality. How are we to give in abundance in a time of scarcity?