The economy is what most politicians and business leaders seem to focus their attention on, even and especially during these Covid times. While daily press conferences may focus on case numbers and hospitalisation rates, the push to get people vaccinated and ‘the economy’ opened up again form the back story. It’s clear from the Prime Minister’s language that he wants the States to stop lockdowns as soon as possible … because he wants the economy to be buzzing along when he calls the Federal election early next year.
It may surprise you to know that the New Testament speaks several times about God’s economy (oikonomia) and about being good managers (oikonomos) or economists of God’s resources. These Greek terms refer to managing various aspects of a household, including its finances. But when these terms are linked to God’s provision and God’s values, it becomes clear that God’s economy operates quite differently to the commercial economy that we are used to.
God’s economy is built on grace and generosity, where all have enough and all are treated equally whether or not they ‘work’ equal hours (as in the parable of the vineyard workers). God’s economy encourages us to build up treasure in heaven – rather than in our bank accounts – by loving our neighbour. In this Season of Creation it is helpful to think about our neighbours broadly – and to include our plant neighbours, animal neighbours and bird neighbours (as indigenous Christian leaders encourage us to do). God’s economy is also heavily focused on the poor and encourages positive discrimination for the poor, confirming that the economy of God’s kingdom is remarkably counter cultural. There are not winners and losers in God’s economy, nor rich and poor, and caring for creation is not an afterthought. Instead, there is a just home for all of God’s creatures, both human and non-human.