Sunday, November 27, 2005

week 9 analysis

I’m going to again focus on what may go into the wiki rather than directly commenting on the reading (and yes, part of the reason is that I didn't do a whole lot of it).

Here is my proposed final answer to the question: Why ought Jesus-followers be involved? I have tried to keep things relatively simple and very clear, and I have included Scripture references where appropriate. Let me know if there is anything I need to add or remove. If a person came to our site who wasn’t quite sure if we should indeed be involved, would this information help them think in the right directions (and, hopefully, convince them)? If not, why not?

*God has always given his people economic responsibilities. From her inception Israel was commanded to be a society who cared for people in need, both Israelites and non-Israelites (Deuteronomy 15.1-11; Exodus 22.21-27; 23-6-12). During the days of the monarchy, the ideal king was one who would look after the poor and needy within the kingdom (Psalm 72). Especially notable are the prophets, who called Israel to embody God’s love and justice in their economic practices (1 Kings 21; Jeremiah 22.13-17; Micah 3.9-12; Isaiah 3.16-26; Amos 4.1-3; and many more).

*Jesus places economic demands on his disciples. He called all of his disciples to abandon the pursuit of wealth and instead trust God to provide what is needed (Matthew 6.11,19-34; 13.22) and taught that it was easier for poor people to follow him than for those with lots of money (Mark 10.17-31; Luke 7.20,24). He also placed a demand on his people to care for the poor and needy (Matthew 25.31-46). The bottom line is that it is impossible to confess Jesus as King and not have that affect the way we handle our financial resources (see also Luke 4.18-19).

*The NT church developed distinct economic policies and practices. To name just a few, special care was offered to those who couldn’t provide for themselves (Acts 4.34-35; 2 Corinthians 7.13-15), economic sharing was an integral aspect of their life together (Acts 2.44-45; 4.32), and economically-driven favoritism was strongly condemned (James 2.1-13). Everyone was expected to work in order to contribute to the needs of the community (2 Thessalonians 3.6-12), even to the point that ignoring the needs of the poor was considered sub-Christian behavior (1 John 3.16-20).

*Money is an unavoidable aspect of life in our world. Since it is at least partially true that “money makes the world go round,” it is impossible for us to ignore economic issues. Paul’s instruction to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” necessarily involves the way we spend our money (Col 3.17). We have to buy, sell, shop, save, and so on, so as followers of Jesus it is our responsibility to do so in a way that honors him.

I still haven’t gotten to develop my answer to the “what should we do” question, but here are some thoughts that I will be developing and working through. I welcome any suggestions that you may have.

*Refuse to be seduced and driven by consumerism, materialism, and capitalism.
*Develop spending and saving habits based on the teaching of Jesus. (for instance, refuse to support companies who engage in child labor overseas).
*Develop business goals and practices based on the nature of the kingdom of God.
*Develop and implement ways to provide for the needs of the poor within our churches.
*Practice ‘economic sharing’ within smaller groups of Christians.
*Support holistic ministries in poorer parts of the world.

As you can see, many of them are very general, so I may develop the specific subpoints and then do away with the general headings.


At 8:30 PM, Blogger C. Wess Daniels said...

Michael, Good posts but you need to keep revewing the reading, as the assignment states - I certaininly don't mind you working out wiki stuff too but the reading is of primary importance.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger michael defazio said...

okie dokie


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