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.This is good stuff. Ways we can wrap our hands and minds around living-together in the Kingdom.
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).