Another core Anabaptist conviction to challenge us all.
Spirituality and economics are interconnected. In an individualist and consumerist culture and in a world where economic injustice is rife, we are committed to finding ways of living simply, sharing generously, caring for creation, and working for justice.
Spirituality and economics
It is said that Jesus spoke more about money than anything else. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know the New Testament says a lot about money, and how following Jesus entails a new attitude to wealth. Consider these scriptures:
- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ….. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:19-24.
- “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42.
- “Now listen you rich people, weep and wail …. The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.” James 5:1-4.
- “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” 1 John 3:17
Common ownership and mutual aid
The Anabaptists emphasise that:
- Economics and spirituality are connected as a matter of justice, not only charity.
- “The practice of mutual aid confronts the pervasive individualism of contemporary western societies.”
- Historically, Anabaptists have emphasised simplicity and contentment with what we have, rather than consumerism and amassing wealth.
- “Mutual aid implies reciprocity and relationship.”
These principles lead some Anabaptists to supporting members in obtaining housing, living in poorer areas to be a helpful part of the community, working for global justice via initiatives like Make Poverty History and emphasising hospitality.
Knowing how to apply these convictions in a world where most of us who read this are richer than almost anyone in history, is a challenge! But somehow we must face that challenge prayerfully.
The connection of spiritually and economics dates to Old Testament scripture as well, doesn’t it unklee? All that talk of how farmers are to leave off a second pass through the orchard so the poor can come get free food seems to me to be both a rule of social economics and a spiritual discipline for God’s people.
Thanks for getting us thinking about this today.
P.S. Laura from Enough Light is guesting at my place today. I’m kind of excited about it!
Yes, some of the OT commands, re gleaning and reversion of land ownership in the Jubilee year, are quite – dare I say it? – socialistic.