Our word economy comes from two Greek roots: household and management. So 'economy' is rooted in the practices and ideas that help a household (a family) flourish. It involves money, but it's also bigger than money. Economy is about money, relationships, possessions, and more. The last two weeks at Open Door we've talked about the idea of an economic imagination - the realization that the 'economy' we exist in has a particular vision or imagination for 'the good life' or life's ultimate goals or purpose. That imagination will inevitably form and shape our everyday economic practices - how we buy and sell, where we choose to live, how we relate to those around us, etc.
Capitalism has a particular imagination (involving retirement, self-sufficiency, upward mobility) which lends itself to particular practices (investing, consumption, seeking promotions, etc.).
In the same way, Jesus invites us into a particular economic imagination. The 'good life' that Jesus invites us into (life 'to the full') is marked by a pervasive and holistic shalom, love of neighbor, faithful stewardship of what we've been given, trust and reliance on God's abundance, and a family formed around Jesus.
This Jesus-looking economic imagination invites us to consider certain economic practices that move us deeper into this kingdom imagination.
This past weekend, we continued our conversations about money, economy, and following Jesus with a focus on naming some of these specific practices and action steps we can take as a family - particularly those centered around Abundance and Sharing/Community.
Here are a few of the practices we named to help us live deeper into a Jesus-looking economic imagination.
Practices of Abundance (Luke 12:22-34)
- Meditating on Scriptural passages of abundance
- Journaling a daily gratitude/thankful list.
- Dwelling in our identity as God's beloved child.
- Immersions into nature, recognizing that the God who holds together the world cares also for us
- Picking up pennies and seeing them as symbols and reminders of God's abundance
- Developing a baseline for what is actually 'enough' (based on global averages, actual needs, etc.) and taking an inventory of possessions and actions to simplify.
Practices of Community (Luke 9:10-17)
- Trusting you have something to offer to others (financial, relational, skills to share, etc.)
- Offering an area of your abundance to the community (produce or flowers from your garden, time, skills)
- Developing an infrastructure of sharing ("You need a power tool? I have a power tool you can borrow!")
- Willingness to name what you need and what you have
- Bringing meals to those with new babies, in transition or in crisis.
- Believing God can do more with what you're willing to offer than you can imagination.
Taking steps of practice in these areas, I believe, will move us deeper toward the life that Jesus invites us into. These simple steps are the stuff of faithfulness in God's kingdom economy!
What other practices would you add to the list? How have you experienced growing depth towards a new economic imagination as you take steps of faith with our money, possessions, and resources?