Economist Dr. Anne Bradley of the Institute for Faith Work and Economics recently wrote a beautiful piece on our role as stewards (not just of our money, but of all of the resources we have), called to bring about flourishing in the world. Don’t miss the link to the remarkable Yale study showing how the spread of global markets has dramatically decreased poverty.
By Dr. Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work and Economics
The Bible teaches that we are called to be good stewards of the resources that God gives us. But stewardship is not just about tithing or caring for the earth, it is about every choice we make. Being a good steward requires knowing what God desires us to do with the resources he’s entrusted us with. In the scriptures, we see God’s clear call to bring about flourishing in the world around us. But what does flourishing look like and how do we get there?
What Is Flourishing?
In the Old Testament, the concept of flourishing is best described by the Hebrew word shalom. Biblical scholars tell us that shalom signifies a number of things, including salvation, wholeness, integrity, soundness, community, connectedness, righteousness, justice, and well-being. Shalom denotes a right relationship with God, with others, and with God’s good creation. It is the way God intended things to be when he created the universe. In most of our English Bibles, we translate shalom as peace, but it means much more than just an absence of conflict.
The idea of flourishing as shalom in the widest sense of the word is a significant theme in the Old Testament:
- When the Lord brings shalom, there is prosperity (Psalm 72:1-7).
- There is health (Isaiah 57:18-19).
- There is reconciliation (Genesis 26:28-29).
- There is contentment (Genesis 15:15; Psalm 4:8).
- When the shalom of the Lord is present, there are good relationships between the nations and peoples. God’s shalom has a social as well as a personal dimension (1 Chronicles 12:17-18).