Having run a charity for 25 years, I am constantly amazed at the generosity of normal people. When confronted with needs, the normal reaction is to respond to those needs. The only thing which stops us giving is the nature of money itself. We live in an economy which encourages us to be selfish rather than generous, to accumulate wealth rather than circulate our resources through giving to others. Continue reading “It is normal to be generous”
We live in a capitalist economy, based on exchange of goods and services using the medium of money. When we buy or sell something, we make an agreed exchange of value. In theory nobody wins and nobody loses, but in practise the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Is there an alternative?
If we all valued other people as much as we value ourselves, a culture of giving could create a different sort of economy. An economy based on ‘loving our neighbour as ourselves’; where as we look after the interests of others, we can feel secure in the knowledge that others are looking after our interests. I know that this seems idealistic, but bear with me as we explore the matter further. Continue reading “Towards an alternative economy”
Jesus and accumulating money
Jesus said some plain, serious and challenging things about the accumulation of money or wealth. He did not condemn money as such, but warned against money becoming our master, making us a slave to wealth.
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 6:24)
It was not the use of money he warned against, but the accumulation of money, or possessions which he called ‘treasures’.
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. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Let us look at what this means for us in the 21st century.
- Should we save for a rainy day?
- Should we contribute to a pension for provision in our later years?
- Is it legitimate to invest money in a business?
- What if we inherit some money, what should we do with it?
- How do we avoid the trap of serving money as our master?