Economic Holiness

Consider this scripture where the Prophet, John the Baptist.speaks of the type of righteousness that Jesus expects.

Luke 3:9-14

9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."  "What should we do then?" the crowd asked.  John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."  Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely — be content with your pay." (NIV)

Its interesting that as John calls his listeners toward repentance (changing their way of life in conformity with the will of God) that he gives three concrete examples of repentance.  In each of his chosen responses, he expressed holiness or righteousness in economic terms.  The man with extra clothing should give it to those who do not have clothing.  Tax collectors were asked to take only what is reasonable.  Soldiers were asked not to use their authority to take other's money.   This is really interesting, as John could have given non-economic examples of holiness.  He could have said to the man "love your wives completely", or "pray more sincerely", but he did choose to use examples of economic justice.  This is telling and challenging.

A couple of observation:

1. The justice of God is distributive and restorative as well.  God desires that we share our possessions so that other's needs are met. 

2.  The justice of God is sacrificial.  The man had two tunics.  He was not wealthy but was left just enough to survive himself.  As God sacrifices for humanity, he expects his people to do the same.

3. Economic Holiness is an issue of justice, not charity.   Charity is something we do out of our niceness and good will.  Justice is a cause that requires action and demands attention..

As you read this text, allow it to speak to your situation.  Are there people in need who would be blessed by your surplus?  Do you see you rmoney as something to hoard or something in which to bless others with?

What implications does this have for Christian's corporately?  Do our churches have a passion for God's justice or for themselves? 

If you are serious about following Jesus, then it should shape your use of resources and your willingness to share. 

When was the last time you gave away something that caused you to truly sacrifice?  Are there financial practices that you participate in that causes exploitation of peoples anywhere?

Its time that we understand that Holiness has economic manifestations, and that includes redistribution and restoration of wealth.

God bless,

Pastor M Traylor
Dr. M TraylorComment