Monday, March 23, 2009

Preparation for Crisis (8) - How Sharing Works

Christians can escape the barter trap through giving and sharing. The hairdresser might bless the gardener by giving him a free haircut. The gardener can bless the butcher by giving him his surplus potatoes. The butcher can bless the motor mechanic by giving him some lamb chops. The motor mechanic can bless the farmer by repairing his tractor. The farmer can bless the miller by giving him some surplus wheat. The miller blesses the baker by giving him some flour. The baker can then bless the hairdresser by giving him some of his bread. Giving and sharing provides everyone with what they need without any money changing hands.

In the circle of giving, goods and services flow in the same way as in the market. The difference is that money does not flow the other way. What does flow is blessing. Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Each person gets what they needed, but they also get God’s blessing because they gave to those who are need. The giving and sharing makes the whole community better off and increases God’s blessing at the same time.

Giving and sharing will only work if there is a high level of trust between the various Christians. The will be committed to giving and be constantly looking out for people in need. If the Christian farmer does not know the Christian miller, the circle of giving could break down. If the baker knows the hairdresser, but do not care enough to find out what he needs, the links will break. Often the circle of giving will be much larger and more complicated than I have shown.

The world would have to trade on a reciprocal basis: you scratch my back and I will polish your shoes. Blessing flows round and round, which is more effective than reciprocal swapping.

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