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More images of Kingdom-living

Awhile back, I ruminated on stewardship, in particular seeing all the stuff we have as a collection of stuff other people need. Recently, I ran across some practical ways we can do this together in Stewardship for all? by Bedru Hussein and Lynn Miller. In the sections written by Miller, he includes these two examples as ways we can be stewards of the stuff we have:
I recently worked with a congregation in an exercise called Asset Mapping. Each person wrote on a half sheet of paper the assets that s/he had, including talents, time, finances, relationships, health and property. When we had done this inventory of assets, we put those half-sheets up on the wall to see if they could be used in conjunction with the assets other people had. We found that collectively we had an amazing diversity and abundance of assets. And by putting the lists on the wall in plain view of everyone else, we felt as if we were releasing the ownership of those assets to God and God’s community.
And here’s another one:
First Mennonite Church Bluffton, Ohio, has a catalog of things that people own which they make available to others in the church. These items are available only because the people who own them do not claim that these things belong only to themselves. Instead, they are also for use by others in the congregation. My Troy-Built Roto-Tiller is in that catalog. I own it, I store it in my barn when it is not being used, but my neighbor Dwight knows that anytime he needs to use it he can come and get it.
So, how do we get to this point? How do we take advantage of opportunities like this to trust God--and thus others--even more?
Once I realize that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is evidence that I have nothing to fear from death, either physical or financial, I can practice “community economics.” Within that framework I understand that which “belongs to me” to be a matter of “stewardship” (the care and management of that which is owned by another) rather than ownership. And I am free to look after the needs of the other before, and instead of, worrying about my own needs.

Then I am following the new commandment that Jesus gave his disciples (and every follower since the original disciples): “That you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
This is good stuff. Ways we can wrap our hands and minds around living-together in the Kingdom.

Comments

Stephen P Buie said…
Hi Carmen,
I have visited your blog 2 times now and must say I am impressed with the quality of what you have put together.

You seem to be hungering and thirsting for the finer things of life, namely the king and his kingdom.

Bless you as you keep on keeping on.

Steve and Sharon Buie
Carmen Andres said…
thank you for your kind words and your encouragement. and thanks for stopping by!
Mirtika said…
I would imagine some good discernment and oversight would be in order. If only one guy had a mower, and lots of folks kept borrowing it, it would wear out and break a lot faster. Would everyone chip in to help him get a new one?

This system leaves room for the leeches and parasites to move in. Sort of like communism. ; ) So, that old thing of Paul's--help each other, yet bear your own burden--it's a continual high-wire act. Giving without enabling. Taking without becoming a leech.

Mir
Carmen Andres said…
i think what would make these ideas work well would be the buy-in and participation of everyone involved (in other words, no manditory participation)--in the first case, all those who wrote their assets up on the wall, in the second case, all those who put their stuff in the catelog.

heh, i have a friend who says he never loans any money or any thing of his that he expects to get back. most of the time, he gets it back (even with extras--a bottle of wine, an offer for help whenever he needs it, etc.--in thankful reply). but sometimes he doesn't. but it hasn't stopped him from living life that way. i admire that.

so, yeah, community must have responsibility with it. a buy-in of all those involved. and a wisdom/shrewdness to know that, even so, you may not get it back--and perhaps a wisdom to know that there's times its best not to put it out there due to the whole enabling thing.

good observations, mir, as always.