It seems as if Vince Cable was going for blanket news coverage today with his triple whamey of announcing jobs, opening up the debate on taxing ‘wealth’ rather than ‘income’ and of course the already infamous leaked letter about his concerns about the governments ability (or lack of it) to imagine, create and enable a story and pathway of economic growth beyond the stick to it Plan A of cutting the deficit to bring stability to the economy. He basically said that the Government lacked a “compelling vision” to enable the necessary plan for growth to bring about a long term restoration and growth for the economy. Beyond the ‘headlines’ there is of course a lot more substance and a lot of practical and creative ideas for how to set out and outwork a vision with greater clarity, depth and longer term…. beyond the mindset of next election….. thinking.
His letter made me reflect afresh (and get excited and re-energised) about why it was that I became a member and activist for the Lib Dems. The importance of free speech and being able to speak and articulate with clarity and passion on issues is always refreshing and compelling, especially when its from a place or person you don’t always expect.
In the spirit of seeking a ‘compelling vision’ and thinking creatively and coherently about how best to use resources, not to rebuild the economy but to help build the Kingdom of God, I am now going to attempt to begin to explore the 2nd of Mark Powley’s 3 questions.
How can I use what I ‘have’ to make a contribution to the Kingdom of God?
It’s a brilliant but also a profoundly challenging question. What indeed is it that we ‘have’? Psalm 24 talks about the earth and everything in it being God’s, so in fact do ‘we’ own anything, does it in fact all belong to God? Well Yes, but in his goodness, his mercy, his desire to empower us his creation, he graciously chooses to entrust us with resources to outwork his values and his kingdom purposes, which is amazing and again challenging.
We are complex, diverse, beautiful creations and the entirety of what we ‘have’ is immense and profound. Although I may not think I am ‘Rich’ compared to many people, In reality compared to many many more people I am and so with that ‘wealth’ comes yes opportunity but also a responsibility.
But its got me thinking. I want to be generous, a want to hold onto things more lightly, to better practice hospitality….. but wanting to do something and actually doing it are in all honesty quite different things.
As a family we do give money to our church and charities that we value and support and who play their part in building and living out the values of God’s Kingdom. We seek to buy fair trade produce where we can. We bank with an ethical bank. We do these things as part of being disciples. But sometimes we miss opportunities and protect ourselves and our own kingdom rather than being generous. We stay in our Cosy Cocoon. I’m not saying that I’m going to just give up everything, but ask the question of could I do more than I am now?
And of course as people, we are so much more than what we own. Character, Integrity, Gifts, Time and other non material resources are all things that we can shape and offer to help build The Kingdom of God. But more about that another day.
So I’m on the Journey. Nowhere near the destination, I get lost, run low on fuel, have some great moments and glimpses of full, real and true life in all its fulness (John 10:10). I’m going to take my (ever expanding) list of what I own and have a deeper, longer think about how we can be more intentional to be generous and maybe even give away some of the things we ‘have’.