This blog post, originally published in 2009 and now updated in light of yet again another devastating earthquake in Haiti, is as relevant as ever.
Gary Moore, widely known for his writings on faith and economics, once pointed out that the ancient Greeks are the forerunners of modern socialism, the ancient Romans the forerunners of conservative capitalism, and Judaism is the forerunner of what he calls Stewardism, the idea that God owns everything and we manage on God’s behalf.
How do you think about these matters? In the middle of all the economic debates over bailouts, stimulus packages, cap and trade, and nationalized health care, it seems people are much more Greek or Roman in their understandings rather than Jewish. This Jewish notion that I work on God’s behalf carries over to those of us who take Christianity seriously. Read the opening chapters of Acts and you quickly discover that the early church is not into private enterprise, nor against it. Instead, it is into using what it has to care for the least of these.
I would offer this observation as well: those with the Roman understanding tend to think whatever they have is theirs and is not to be shared. Those with the Greek understanding tend to think that whatever another has can be made available for the good of all, but this means the individual is absolved of significant work to be loving and charitable since the state takes care of these matters.
With the recent heart-wrenching devastation that is Haiti, why not take up this economic perspective and let it shape our understanding of giving, saving for the future and providing for our households? Why not live underneath the means of our time and finances so that we can make use of the opportunities placed in our paths?
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