We asked members of our community to share what moves them to do justice work. This month Edie Rasell, Minister for Economic Justice, reflects on God’s abundance and the importance of economics.
More Than a Day Job
Economics is often viewed as a fairly dry, even boring topic. But consider this. Unemployment, poverty, stagnant or falling wages, unsafe jobs, globalization, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, taxes (who pays and how much), inadequate public schools, lack of health care, the right to form a union and why someone might want to, imports from China and closed factories in the U.S. – these are all economic issues, issues of economic justice. Not only are these topics vitally important to most of us, they are, I believe, vitally important to God.
The Bible repeatedly tells us that God created a world of abundance, abundance freely given to God’s people, enough for all.
“You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy” (Ps. 65:11-13).
God gives abundantly. All we are asked to do is enjoy the abundance and shout and sing with joy to God in thanksgiving. But, somehow, that’s not how it works out.
Poverty, not abundance, is the reality for millions of people in the United States and billions around the world. Unemployment, inadequate wages, the lack of clean water, and many other barriers deny fullness of life to billions of God’s people. Instead of abundance, too many of our neighbors face constricted life choices, hopelessness and even premature death. They do not experience the world of abundance that God has created.
There will be abundance for all if we share what we have and use only the resources necessary to meet our needs, not all our wants. This can be difficult, especially for North Americans. But we have been given a path to follow. Jesus called his disciples to turn aside from the dominant social values of their day and become people of the Way, the Way of love for their neighbors. We are also called to follow this Way.
I believe the work of justice is our life’s work, day in, day out, win or lose. Whatever our “day jobs,” whatever our other responsibilities, the work of justice is what we are called to do, 24/7. With God’s help, the choices we make in our personal lives as well as the work we do in the world become more and more aligned with and faithful to the Way. The Church is called to be the community where we practice living out this Way, where we can fall and be helped to rise, where we are supported on difficult days and where, every day, we shout and sing together for joy. This is the life I seek as I work for justice.