Lenten Theme: An Economy of Trust
by Rick Marshall and Jeanyne B. Slettom
Our theme for this Lenten season is “An Economy of Trust.” On a corporate level, we know what an economy of fear and greed looks like. On a personal level, we know what an economy of consumerism and gratification looks like.
What happens when we focus on an economy that the Bible supports?
The Greek word for economy is oikos, which simply means “house.” Oikonomia (an economy) is managing household affairs, and an oikonomos (an economist) is the one who is in charge of running the affairs of the household.
This word can be used as a metaphor for many ways of being in the world. On a personal level, we speak of our bodies being a house, a family being a household. As the sphere gets larger, we speak of the economy of a community, a nation, the planet.
What would our common life look like if all of us, in our personal lives and as a church, worked for the common good? What would our nation look like if our leaders in the public and private sectors worked for the well-being of all? The overwhelming witness of the Bible is that justice is the true measure of the health of a nation. If everything belongs to God, and we are entrusted with the stewardship of creation, then to what kind of economy are we called as individuals, governments, and global citizens, to provide careful management of God’s resources?
Such a perspective affirms that by taking care of the vulnerable, the sick, the stranger, and the homeless we all will benefit from and enjoy a healthy economy. By taking care of ourselves, we aim our resources at attitudes and choices that enhance our well-being and limit our “spending” on impulses that lead to anxiety and unhappiness.
The season of Lent is an invitation to reflection. How do we spend our time? How do we use our resources? Do we put our trust in money, success, material goods? Or do we put our trust in God? What kind of security do we really need? Securities in a bank or security in God?
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the ultimate critique of a world driven by fear and callous greed. Jesus suggested an alternative way to live, a different way to manage the oikos of our bodies, our families, our communities, our businesses, our nations, our planet. He suggested what we are calling an economy of trust. The price of his critique was death, the brutal act of an Empire that built its economy on conquest and coercion. The answer to empire is life, the transforming power of God, whose economy is built on justice, compassion, and trust.
Lent 1: Luke 4:1-13
Lent 2: Psalm 27
Lent 3: Isaiah 55:1-9
Lent 4: Psalm 32
Lent 5: Isaiah 43:16-21
Lent 6: Psalm 50:4-9a