As 2020 unfolds, some major issues are challenging the nations of the world. Most urgent of all are those relating to climate change. In the UK, with Brexit now in progress, the focus is shifting to the form of trade deals that will emerge. Within both the climate change and trade deal debates, there is the question of how we share the resources of the earth and trade in sustainable ways.
For many years, economic policy has been formulated by the drive for continued growth, of ever-increasing wealth, of more, more, more. It is becoming abundantly clear that this has to change – and quickly – if the good earth that God has gifted to humanity, and the flora and fauna with whom we share the planet, are to have a healthy future. Rather than having economic policy predicated on endless growth, we need one predicated on sustainability, with environmental care at its heart.
I have recently discovered the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility. On their website (eccr.org.uk) they say this: ‘The way we spend, save and invest money has a huge impact on the world around us. Our financial decisions affect the neighbours (locally and globally) we are called to love, and the whole of creation, which we are called to protect.’ The ECCR encourages churches and individual disciples of Jesus to consider carefully how they share their resources (and in particular their money) for the good of all creation. I commend their work to you particularly if you are on a Holy Habits journey in your church and are exploring the habit of Sharing Resources.
In his picture of the Acts 2 church, Luke presents an image of a community that held its wealth and resources lightly, with members being ready and willing to share what they had with any as they had need. It’s a challenging and inspiring picture. The risk for those of us who are part of the church today is that we limit our thinking, seeing the boundary for sharing as the extremities of the church fellowship. The risk in post-Brexit Britain is that we become insular, damaging others and ourselves with a limited or selfish attitude to sharing. The climate emergency in particular is a siren call to a prophetic way of life that shares the precious resources of this earth, from which all forms of ‘wealth’ are ultimately derived, in a way that honours God, who has gifted it all and blesses the whole of creation.
You may be interested in these books for further study: