Vicar’s Reflection: 9th September 2018, Ordinary Sunday 23
James’ observation that we behave with deference to the rich is true. The NBR Rich list is published every year not just for statistical or financial interest but to hold up the wealthy for our admiration and envy. How do they acquire their wealth? Some inherit from wealthy families, some start risky businesses and get lucky, some work hard to develop a unique new product. Some just have a talent for making money, just as others have a talent for art or maths. Scriptures teaches that those who work hard and behave ethically will prosper, so there is nothing inherently wrong with wealth. Scripture also condemns wealth obtained through exploitation of the poor, those who use wealth to exclude the needy, or who use the power of their wealth to harm or exploit others, not sharing the benefits of wealth with their community. The disproportionate wealth of some and poverty of others is an ancient problem. People of all faiths, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims have recognised this and seek to overcome it through the principle of alms-giving and generosity. In our modern connected world is this enough? I believe creative new ways must be found to redistribute wealth. Here are some interesting new approaches to look up: Universal Basic Income, Business As Mission, Micro-enterprises and banking, such as Trade Aid and the Grameen Bank. Ethical business is an important part of the future of Christian mission. Wealth is for sharing not hoarding. The loaf has enough crumbs for everyone at the table.