We often think of giving as one way, but the biblical writer Paul sees it very differently. For Paul, the work of God is not a linear process, but a cycle. When we give, it’s not just the receivers who get a gift, but also us.

Why We Give and How We Give

When addressing the need for the Corinthian church to give to the impoverished church in Jerusalem, Paul says:

“The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one should give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or from compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to cause all grace to abound to you, so that in everything at all times, because you have enough of everything, you may overflow in every good work. Just as it is written, ‘He scattered widely, he gave to the poor; his righteousness remains forever’” (2 Corinthians 9:6–9 LEB).

Saint Paul's 7 Lessons on Giving

Here are seven lessons we can glean from what Paul said to the Corinthian church:

  1. If you give much, for the right reasons, you will receive much.
  2. Give what you feel led to give.
  3. God wants you to be cheerful when you give.
  4. God will be abundantly gracious to givers.
  5. If you give what you feel led to give, you will have more than enough.
  6. When you learn to give, you will overflow in every good work.
  7. Giving to others is an expression of righteousness—right living (Psalm 112:9).

When you express what Paul said in seven points like this, his statements suddenly become both shocking and hard to believe. (“Could God really view giving this way?” we may ask.) Yet giving is a fundamental law and order of God. It is how the world is meant to function. Nothing that we hold is truly ours—instead, what we have (everything we have) is a gift to steward. It is meant to be shared (see Luke 19:11–27).

Put simply, giving is a two-way street. One could even say giving is a three-way street: the person who is benefiting from the gift; the person who gives who is changed by the act; and God who blesses those involved.

When we give to others, all sorts of possibilities are opened up. The cycle of poverty can be ended and the cycle of our lives can be transformed in the process. The question is: Will we believe Paul and act on his words?*


Enjoy this article? Check out my new book, Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change. With simple, everyday choices you can make the world a better place. Learn how to live the currency of love.



*This article is adapted from my earlier article, "7 Lessons about Giving from Saint Paul." The research for this article became part of my 2019 book, Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” 

This proverb is a good start, but ultimately inadequate. We must do more than just feed the poor and teach them how to put food on the table. We must walk with the impoverished through the process of coming out of poverty—as their friends. And then, we must connect them to the right resources, so that their livelihoods are sustainable.

What if there aren't enough fish?

We must do more than teach the man to fish—we must fish with him for a while to see what the fishing is like. And then, we must ensure that the fish will always be around. This means connecting people to a larger pool of fish. It means considering not just local economies but the global economy.

When we consider how to best help those who are hurting, we have to think through not just the immediate problems but also the long-term difficulties. We should be asking questions like: How can I help someone not just build a business but be connected to a global marketplace?

So we could say the proverb should be revised to:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and connect him with the best fishing holes and you feed him for a lifetime.”

But what if the fishing is ruined by the environment or what if people steal the man's fish? How can we fix those types of problems? Our proverb may need even further revision.

Life is about more than fishing

Life is about much more than “learning how to fish.” If you teach a person to fish, but don’t meet their other basic needs, they will continue to struggle. It's not good enough to have fish to eat if I don't have clean water to drink or a medic clinic where that can care for my wounds.

Also, if you teach a person to fish but don’t help bring ethical standards to their community, their society will eventually fall apart. The good work will be undone.

There are deep rooted problems in society and these problems are ultimately spiritual. Corruption can destroy any good work. That's where ethics and thus healthy churches come in. We have to change the environment we live in if we want to see lives changed. We have to change the society.

"I will make you fishers of men."

And let’s also not forget what Jesus taught us about fishing in general: We are to do more than meet needs—we must lead people into God’s kingdom and the lifestyle that kingdom demands. Jesus' earliest disciples were fishermen and look what he said to them:

"And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him" (Matthew 4:18–19 NKJV).

Perhaps, then, we need to revise the proverb once more:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and connect him with the best fishing holes and you feed him for a time. Join a man in lifting his society out of spiritual and physical poverty and he will never be hungry again."

Although, often the "man" you find will turn out to be woman, whom we should never hesitate to empower. She can lift her entire family out of poverty. Thus the proverb is just as accurate when it reads as follows:

“Give a woman a fish and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish and connect her with the best fishing holes and you feed her for a time. Join a woman in lifting her society out of spiritual and physical poverty and she will never be hungry again."

Let's look at the whole picture

We need to do everything we can to look at the entire picture: the spiritual and physical problems affecting people. I believe this is how we empower people to overcome poverty. This is what creating a new, spiritual and physical economy for those who need it most is all about. This is what creating Jesus' economy is about.

I hope this article inspires you to do more than teach a man to fish. I hope you decide to really love someone today. Walk with people on their way out of poverty and work with them towards sustainability. Help instill biblical ethics into their community. In the process, I am betting that you will find—as I have—that it alleviates some of your own spiritual poverty.*


Join Us in Renewing a Whole Community

Learn More

*This article is based in part on my previous article, "Moving Beyond 'Teach a Man to Fish'."

 

Jesus' Economy is an all-volunteer organization. We need people like you to join us in creating jobs, planting churches, and meeting basic needs. Joining our team is an incredible way to gain experience. We invest seriously in the people who volunteer with us and help them accomplish their life and career goals.

Our volunteer staff and interns typically work four to eight hours per week. Our team works entirely remotely, making it easy to join. From right behind your computer, you can be part of a movement of talented people creating a better world.

My Story of Volunteering with Jesus' Economy

I can tell you first hand how wonderful it is to work with a team like the one at Jesus’ Economy. I joined in 2014 as an intern in writing and editorial. I was 18, and pretty nervous to begin the internship, though I had confidence in God’s direction. I was worried that I was too young, too inexperienced, and would not be able to keep up. CEO John Barry and his wife, Kalene, were so excited to bring me on board and mentor me as I grew in my gifts and followed where God was leading me. They were not afraid to help me start from the bottom, and continue to have great patience with me along the way. Learning is often uncomfortable, but they have made it easier in the way they handle it.

It has been more than three years, my position has been promoted to Apprentice in Writing and Editorial, and I am constantly amazed at how far I’ve come. Working with Jesus’ Economy has blessed me with an incredible educational platform in which I can try, fail, and improve. As a result of John’s mentorship and direction, I have learned and am learning new skills daily, constantly pushing myself beyond my comfort zones.

God led me here—and believe me, that’s a crazy story of its own—and he continues to lead me within this volunteer position. The ultimate goal for believers is to bring glory to God, and it is special to be a part of a team so focused on doing just that. Everyone here is passionate about the mission of Jesus’ Economy, which is a dedication to creating jobs, planting churches, and meeting the basic needs of people around the world. We’re all excited about bringing glory to God  through that mission.

Get involved!

Open Non-Profit Volunteer Staff Positions

Open Non-Profit Internships and Apprenticeships

Joining our team is a great way to gain professional experience while building connections. We invest in the people who work with us and are serious about helping them accomplish their life and career goals. Contact us today at info@jesuseconomy.org.

 

  

Jesus once told the story of the good shepherd who discovers the loss of one sheep and leaves the remaining 99 in the safety of the fold to seek the one who is lost (Luke 15:4-7). He searches intently high and low until the lost sheep is found. He tenderly carries it home on his shoulders and then calls his friends and neighbors to join him in celebrating that which is found. 

Have you ever wondered about the relationship of this man to his sheep? I l have lost pet birds, which made me feel sad and wish they would come back, but I certainly never went to any great lengths to find them again. I believed it was hopeless, and I hoped they would fend for themselves okay in the wild. In juxtaposition, the shepherd loved each of his sheep. He spent each day with them, weathered the storms with them, and fought wild animals off to protect them. He endured great risk and hardship to return them home.

A Heart for the Lost

Jesus is the good shepherd. He voluntarily left his throne in heaven and took human form to seek and save the lost. Paul writes of this experience in Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV):

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

The oft-quoted John 3:16 reminds us that Jesus' motivator for this self-sacrificial act was love. He loves each and every lost soul so much that he sacrificed it all.

We, too, need a heart for the lost. We, too, need to love others so much that no sacrifice is too great to see sinners saved. Just as the shepherd left the sheepfold, and Jesus left heaven, so must we leave—leave our comfort zones, perhaps even our homes, our countries, and families. We must be prepared to lay it all on the line for the call of Jesus. Jesus himself commissioned us in Matthew 28:19-20, saying, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Leaving Ourselves Behind for the Sake of Gospel

The whole world hasn't yet been given the gospel: the opportunity to either accept or reject the call of Jesus. So what will you and I do about it? Whatever it is, it won't be easy.

I remember when Brad and I decided to go to Papua New Guinea for four years (which became five), and we started to hear all kinds of horror stories of others' experiences there. Our families were totally against the idea and seemed to think we were crazy. Once we got there it didn't get any easier. The language was hard to learn. The culture was uncomfortable. We caught malaria. We were faced with guns. The devil pulled out all the stops to try to send us home. But we persevered, doing what we felt called by God to do. And he has blessed us abundantly in it.

Jesus gives us a promise, “There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). Will you answer Jesus' call today? Will you take up your cross for the sake of lost sheep?

 

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It was shortly after I moved to Papua New Guinea. I had almost finished unpacking my boxes and boxes of goods; books, ornaments, picture frames, crafts, and kitchenware—you name it and I probably had it. As I emptied each box, I would break it down and stack it outside the house in readiness for our twice-weekly garbage collection. It seemed like a perfectly normal moving activity to me.

Then one day my haus meri (maid) came to me and asked if she could take some of the boxes home. I had no further use for them, so naturally I consented. Day by day she would bundle up half a dozen boxes and take them home with her. I didn't think much more about it until a year or two later when I went to visit her house in the settlement (a ‘village’ of squatters living in shabbily built dwellings on private or government land).

We climbed the mountain with a small entourage leading us to my haus meri's home. The path was steep, the ground slippery, and the streams muddy. Little children raced along the path, as agile and sure-footed as we were slow and clumsy. Eventually, tired and with sweaty brows, we reached my haus meri's home. 

I was shocked however to see how my waste, the cardboard boxes I considered garbage, had been used. The floor of the little house was dirt (presumably mud when it rained). The roof, its best feature, was of rusty tin. The walls were a timber frame holding cardboard—my cardboard boxes—in place to keep the rain and mosquitoes and wild animals out.

I felt an overwhelming sorrow. 

We Have So Much To Give

I felt sorrow because I could not fix the poverty of the world. Sorrow that I was spoiled and selfish. Sorrow that I complained when we had a blackout, when we were without water for a few hours, when I couldn't have a hot shower, when my Internet was slow. God put me in my place that day. He said to me sternly, “Kriselle, I have given you so much, but with many blessings comes great responsibility ... what are you going to do with your many blessings?”

Luke 12:48 says, “to whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.”

You and I are rich. Maybe not filthy rich (I certainly don't own a penthouse, or have a new pair of shoes every week, or drive a convertible sports car), but we are rich nevertheless. I have a job, I own a car, I have running water to my house (I even flush my toilet with drinking quality water), I have a roof over my head, I have clothes to spare, my child is in school, and I can afford healthcare. The list goes on and on, but I think you get the picture. We are so much richer than much of the world, where simple day-to-day survival is a struggle. You and I both are so very blessed!

Using Our Riches For God’s Glory

So, what is God calling you to do with your riches? I am sure he is not asking you to hoard it all up for yourself. Jesus once told the parable in Luke 12 of a rich man who accumulated so much wealth that he ran out of room to store it all, so decided to build bigger storage units. God then described the man as foolish and noted that the man would die that very night, illustrating the point that it is futile to accumulate material wealth, rather than investing in God's kingdom. 

Matthew 6:19–21 says, “Don't lay up treasure for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves do not break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Every day we see in the news examples of why it is futile to store up treasures on earth—volcanoes erupt, earthquakes and tremendous storms occur, stock markets crash, homes are invaded, and so many other tragedies strike. It is far better that we invest in something lasting, something of eternal value.

Is God calling you to purchase Bibles for mission work? Is God calling you to support a missionary family? Is God calling you to provide a cow or a garden to a struggling family? Is God calling you to raise funds to build a dormitory or extra classrooms in a mission school? 

Whatever God's call is for you, it is my prayer that you decide today to use your blessings for his purposes. Let us each resolve to give up some of our riches to bless others more needy than ourselves, and above all, to further the kingdom of heaven.

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In John 13, Jesus and his closest friends gather together to celebrate the Passover.  It is a scene of beautiful companionship. They are relaxed and uplifted by their engagement in the ceremony of the Passover supper. In their culture, it was an act of hospitality for a slave to perform the distasteful task of washing the guest's feet. But here in the upper room we get to witness something very special. 

All of a sudden we notice Jesus rise from the table and break tradition by taking the role of a servant, of the lowest of the low. He takes off his outer garment, wraps a towel around his waist, and fills a bowl with water. He stoops to wash the first of his disciples' feet, and then proceeds to do so for each and every one of them. Their feet are not clean as ours are. They are dirty, muddy, and probably smelly.

My Experience Washing Feet

One Sabbath morning in Lae, Papua New Guinea, I encountered a foot washing experience that will forever stick with me. The church was decked out with tropical flowers in readiness for the communion service, and the worshippers were in their best clothes, wearing their big white smiles, and carrying their precious Bibles. Just as Jesus did for his disciples, each of the church attendees was to wash one another's feet. This was like no foot washing experience I had ever participated in. There was mud. There were flies. We were kneeling on leaves to try to keep our best clothes out of the mud. Many of them had no shoes, and those who did wore flip-flops. They trekked for kilometers over mountains, through streams, through red betel-spit stained puddles. Some had fungal infections. Many had sores. It was a uniquely humbling experience to wash the feet of, and have my feet washed by these beautiful Christian people.

Following Jesus’ Example

Back in the upper room the disciples must have looked at each other somewhat sheepishly. Their master, their teacher, their savior was washing their feet.  “I should have done that!” perhaps they inwardly rebuked themselves; Peter even said so (John 13:8). Just like the disciples, we too need to be humbled. Jesus took the first and biggest step of humility when he left heaven to come as the newborn babe of a poor girl, born in a manager, with a label of illegitimate hanging over his head. 

Paul writes in Philippians 2:5-8, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

The Steps Jesus Took to Display Humility

Let's look at the steps Jesus took when he washed his disciples’ feet. First, he took off his outer robe. What might this represent for you and I? Overcoming our pride? Casting aside selfish ambition? Stepping beyond our comfort zone? Allowing Jesus to remove our fear? Sometimes, the first step is the hardest to take, but if we don't take that first step, we may never learn the joy of service.

Second, Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and poured water into a basin. He prepared for the task at hand. This will differ for each of us according to what the Lord is calling us to, and our calling now might not be our calling next month, next year, or next decade. Perhaps we need to gain a certain skill or qualification (e.g., learn a new language or take a first aid course). Perhaps we need to purchase resources, do some planning, get together a team, or maybe just spend more time in prayer and Bible study. Whatever it is, we cannot just rush headlong into service. Just like Jesus, we need to take the necessary steps of preparation to be effective in our respective ministries.

The next step is what I like to call “see a need, fill a need.” Dirty feet need to be washed. Hungry bellies need to be fed. The illiterate need lessons. Those with illness and disease need medicine. Wayward teens need guidance. Abused women need a refuge. Corrupt governments need to be opposed. The list goes on and on. What needs do you see in your home, community, country, and world? 

Called to Messy Service

Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12 how each body part serves a unique purpose and yet is valuable and integral to the function of the body. Similarly, each one of us has different gifts, skills, and passions, and God designed us that way because he has a unique role he wants each of us to enact. Yet we all serve the ultimate purpose of bringing him glory. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Jesus is our example when it comes to dirty, muddy service. The disciples followed his example taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, being stoned, imprisoned, and even martyred for the sake of the gospel.  So, what dirty, muddy service is the Lord calling you to today? Is it to help out in the local soup kitchen? Volunteer to wash the dishes after a church potluck? Serve in a far-off land whose President's name you cannot pronounce?

Whatever your call might be, just remember that Jesus too made sacrifices, Jesus too got his hands dirty, and Jesus too calls us to this dirty, muddy service.

We are pleased to announce our first grant to Transformation India Movement. 

Thanks to your support, and nothing short of a miracle by Jesus, over 4,000 people will now have access to clean water via two water wells. In addition, over 3,800 people will hear the name of Jesus over the next year who have never heard his name before: Two church planters have been funded for a year: Vinod Kumar and Santhosh Kumar. And two water wells have been funded in the same regions they will be working in.

The Journey of Jesus' Economy: My Letter to You

Jesus' Economy has been an emotional journey. In May 2012, God awoke me in the night with words: He cast the vision of creating jobs, planting churches, and meeting basic needs all at the same time, one developing world community at a time. God spoke about connecting entrepreneurs in the developing world to a global marketplace and connecting developing world church planters to donors. Today, I see that vision coming to be.

Today, I see our fair trade shop creating jobs. And I see our first grant to Transformation India Movement meeting basic needs and planting churches. And I see the beginnings of our empowering women program in Bihar, India, as we get closer to funding it.

Along the journey, I have shed tears over the difficulties of making all this real. We have felt financial strain and worked through building a team and then rebuilding it on several occasions, as always happens with start-ups. And I have seen the pain of poverty first hand in Bihar; and that is what has brought the most tears of all. (I have regularly said that I cannot rest until Bihar is renewed, and I mean it.)

Kalene and I have led this effort as volunteers, because we believe in it. (You can't walk away from Bihar and not take action.) Here at Jesus' Economy, we have stayed committed to each dollar you give going exactly where you designate. (Our first grant honors that promise.) And with your support and advocacy, we have all built something beautiful together.

From each post you have shared on your social networks, to each penny you have given, to each product you have purchased, you have made Jesus' Economy possible. Jesus' Economy belongs to all of us. And this first grant is all of our victory, but above that, it's Jesus' victory. This is his economy we're making real, by his grace. And being where we are, on our budget, is nothing short of a miracle. So let's praise Jesus today.

Today, I shed tears of joy in gratitude. And those tears give me fortitude to go on with this great effort. With you by my side, and Jesus as our ultimate advocate, I know we can do all things through him. Jesus gives strength. He will renew Bihar, India.

Together, we can alleviate extreme poverty and provide access to the gospel to those who have never heard Jesus' name. Together, we can make the world a better place.

Bihar, India's story has become part of my story. And I hope it has also become part of your story. We have an opportunity to renew hope, hearts, and homes. We have a chance to renew Bihar, India. Our work is not done, but has begun. Thank you for making that possible.

Please feel free to email me your thoughts or ways that you would like to get involved: I'm at john@jesuseconomy.org.

Love in Christ,

John D. Barry, CEO and Founder

Proving It: Grant Receipts

In addition to telling you the stories about how our grants are used, and showing you photos to prove that the work is going on, we will post images of checks and/or transfer receipts. Here are the transfer receipts for our first grant.

Join the Movement: Renew Bihar, India

It doesn't take much to empower someone in Bihar, India. Our first grant is for $7,431.20, which is broken down as:

  • $2,000 to Two Water Wells (to be drilled in the same villages reached by the church planters).
  • $799.20 to Two Church Planter Administrative Support Funds—for One Year Per Church Planter
  • $4,632 to Two Church Planter Salaries (whose names have been previously chosen and discussed)—for One Year Per Church Planter

 

Update (11/18/2014): The second water well that was funded provided 500 people with access to clean water, so less than we anticipated, but this well was desperately needed. More information coming soon.

Update (12/19/2014): The first water well that was funded provided 1,300 people with access to clean water, so also less than we anticipated, but this well was also desperately needed.

Update (03/04/2015): The precise impact stats related to our first grant are included in our 2014 Annual Report.

Water is a part of life. It is a part of life, everywhere. And God is in it.

As the weather is getting warmer, we are getting ready to spend our days outside enjoying the peace of summer. We watch little kids swim in pools with their little water wings and goggles, we run through sprinklers to cool ourselves off, and we water our thirsty plants with water straight from the tap. School is out, and people are flocking to the beaches, rivers, and lakes for water sports and sun bathing—people are coming together to stay cool and enjoy their break.

Summer Water Fun and Education in California

Just a few days ago, a water main collapsed in Burbank, California, causing a huge sinkhole—the streets nearby flooded with water. Several homes were without water and some homes were flooded. But citizens have positively spun this entire difficulty by taking to streets to enjoy their little river. Kids have brought their boards and inner tubes out, floating in the sun. Although this is an unfortunate circumstance, people are making the most of it—making their own great start to summer.

In Fresno, California, the city is taking charge of drought awareness, and recently taught kids about understanding water at their City of Fresno Kid’s Camp. The camp was filled with 8 and 9 year olds who were learning how and why to conserve water, while learning how water plays a crucial part in their lives. The camp decided to show the kids how to have fun with water this summer, while saving it. They also showed the children the role water plays in the making of their favorite foods and treats.

Raising Money for Clean Water for England

In Sheffield, England, an annual fun run just took place to provide clean water in Nigeria. Last year, they were able to provide 10 bore wells. For the last several years, people have filled Weston Park to run about the same length that many people in the developing world go each day to get water. Runners run for fun and the joy of helping others. But of course it isn’t just parts of Nigeria that lack access to clean water.

Access to Clean Water Around the World

In Africa alone, 345 million people don’t have access to clean water. In Eastern Asia, 200 million people are without access to clean water. In South, West, and Central Asia, 196 million people lack the simple staple of fresh and clean water.

Around the world, 780 million people lack access to clean water. 3.4 million people die each year from water related diseases.

Access to Clean Water in India

India is facing extensive issues as a result of unclean water. It is estimated that 6% of the world’s population lives along the Ganges River in India. Several cities dump their untreated sewage directly into the river, which is used downstream for drinking, bathing, and washing—exposing these people to many dangerous diseases. This pattern of river pollution occurs in many other developing countries, and is depriving many people of their futures.

We don’t have to sit and watch, though, we can all help.

Out of many things people are doing to help solve the water crises around the world, Jesus’ Economy is working in Bihar, India. One of things we do there is fund the digging of water wells. Every well provides access to clean water for 2,000 people. Each well costs only $1,000. This means 50 cents can provide clean water for one person.

Without Water, There is No Life

Water is so integral to life that Jesus used to explain his very personhood:

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14 NIV).

In Jesus, there is an answer to the spiritual thirst of our world. Jesus is this water will satisfy us forever.

Throughout the summer, we will drink water for refreshment and hydration. We will sit back and enjoy it as summer moves along far too quickly. But this summer, let’s also remember the needs of our world as we do so—and let’s rise to meet those needs. In the process of doing so, let’s share Jesus—the living water—with others.

 

This article is part of our "Around the World" seriesLove this article? Get all of our articles delivered via email.

Jesus' Economy model wearing aluminum cuff bracelet

I regularly wonder if I truly love people. Am I living the entire message of the gospel or just part of it? I think this is one of the most important question Christians should ask.

If I don’t have an income, how will I have time to do anything but survive? If I suffer each day from malnutrition or waterborne illnesses, how will I have time to do anything but pray for salvation from my situation? I may want to serve "the one who saves" but it will be very difficult for me to do so if I am praying for salvation from my daily circumstances.

Living Holistic Community Development

The idea of truly loving people is why we here at Jesus’ Economy have a holistic model. In each developing world community we serve, we address business issues, spiritual problems, and the needs of a community. We do this through church grants, microloans, and the meeting of basic needs. Our church planters also engage directly with those receiving microloans and business training. This allows for us to bring biblical ethics into business to alleviate corruption.

In addition, we create jobs by providing an online fair trade shop. Through our shop, we not only buy products from artisans from around the world, we also buy products from the people receiving microloans through our holistic projects. We complete the economic cycle by also becoming the guaranteed buyer.

See the Full-Size Infographic about our Holistic Model

This Idea Could Change Our Entire World

I often wonder if we all practiced loving a whole person, not just their need, how our world would change? And I am not just talking about you donating to Jesus' Economy here; I am talking about truly engaging in relationship with other people, to empower them to overcome the spiritual (a lack of living fully for Jesus) and physical poverty (a lack of resources and access to them) they're facing.

The Holistic Model in Practice in Bihar, India

In the instance of our Renew Bihar, India project, we're practicing our holistic model, because we want to see hope, hearts, and home renewed. 

Here's how it will work. 18 church planters will receive grants and 18 water wells being drilled in the same regions those planters are serving. In addition, 40 women will be empowered to develop products for the western market—by receiving business training and microloans if they so desire.

With the knowledge of how to develop a product for the western market, these women will then be able to expand the businesses they own and hire others. We will become their buyer at the end of the microloan cycle to further jumpstart their business and economy—we will then sell those products to you right in our fair trade shop and reinvest any profit.

We will also establish a medical clinic for the impoverished. We’re creating jobs and churches, while meeting basic needs.

Living the Change We Want to See

I want to have the same level of care I have for the people of Bihar with everyone I meet, every day. How can I empower them to live for Jesus? How can you do the same?

God Loves the Whole Person

I believe that God cares as much about a person’s daily income as he does their spirituality, because work life is connected to spiritual life. Above that, work itself is spiritual—everything we do is. We may not acknowledge it, but every decision we make affects others, in some way or another—either by what we are doing or by what we aren’t doing.

God loves a whole person—not just the person when they’re praying, or when they're going to church, but also when they’re living the rest of their life. Our aim here at Jesus’ Economy is to do the same.

Due to donors like you, 4,000 people will gain access to clean water very soon: Two water wells for Bihar, India are now fully funded. One church planter is also fully funded for a year; a second church planter is nearly funded. And the training/administration costs to support two church planters for a year are also funded.

Jesus' Economy is about to kick off the Renew Bihar, India project. Every dollar you donated to water wells and church planting will be transferred to Bihar soon, and then the work will begin. We're also appropriating all community transformation donations, and general Renew Bihar fund donations, to kick start the renewal. We're excited to tell you the stories as the work begins and progresses.

Birthdays Fund Access to Clean Water

Thanks to two hilarious, but also very moving, birthday dedications—plus some additional individual contributions—our first water well in Bihar, India was funded. It is because donors like you got behind the causes of your friends, and gave up your birthdays and finances, that this is possible.

Sara Gering's birthday dedication raised $370, enough for 740 people to have access to clean water.

Marty Mitchell's birthday dedication raised another $300, enough for 600 people to have access to clean water.

In addition to these two projects, we saw another $330 come in of individual contributions towards water wells, providing for the remainder. One dollar equals two people with access to clean water.

Donor's Work Bonus Fully Funds a Water Well

One very generous donor received a work bonus and decided to outright fund a water well. This was especially moving, since Jesus' Economy staff were praying just the day before this donation came in that a second water well could be funded. Jesus' Economy staff realized that it wouldn't be long before two church planters were funded, and thus prayed that Jesus' Economy would be able to empower the second church planter to bring clean water to the area he would be serving. Now, this is possible.

One Church Planter Funded for a Year; a Second Almost Funded

There are over 101 million people in Bihar, India who have never heard the name of Jesus. To change this, individuals have been donating towards church planting.

In addition, since Jesus' Economy is focusing on funding church planting in conjunction with water wells at the moment—because those are the parts of the Renew Bihar project we can get off the ground right now—we're also appropriating funds from our community transformation donations towards church planting. (The community transformation fund is always appropriated to current gaps in our regional transformation projects; the Renew Bihar general fund likewise covers gaps in this specific project.) When you combine the donations to community transformation, Renew Bihar's general fund, and donations to church planting in general, there is enough to fully fund a church planter for a year. (Our goal is three years of funding per planter, but funding one year gets things started.) In addition, a second church planter is also nearly funded.

We're only $1,393 away from having a second church planter funded for a year. Help us make it happen. Jesus' Economy's goal is that this second church planter will be funded for a year within the next seven days. Donate to church planting and help give thousands access to the gospel. Our church planters also need bicycles to get from village to village, to spread the good news about Jesus: Buy a bicycle for a church planter for $100.

Financial Transparency Report: Water Wells, Church Planting, Community Transformation Fund, and General Bihar Fund

  • Church Planting Giving: $510.60
  • Water Well Giving: $2,000 (This is an even figure because a donor took care of the exact amount needed to finish funding the first well)
  • Community Transformation/Renew Bihar General Fund Combined Total: $3,527.50
    • $1,805.40 being appropriated to first church planter, completing one year of salary/expenses costs
    • $799.20 being appropriated for administrative support/training of church planters in Bihar by Transformation India Movement, Jesus' Economy's partner (that's $33.30 per month, per church planter, for one year)
    • $922.90 being appropriated to the second church planter, leaving $1,393.10 to raise

Help us raise the last $1,393 we need to fund the second church planter for one year, who will be located where we will drill the second water well. Let's make it happen together. All it takes is a few dollars each. Don't feel like your donation needs to be big, just give something. Together, we can make it happen.

 

Update (11/18/2014): The second water well that was funded provided 500 people with access to clean water, so less than we anticipated, but this well was desperately needed. More information coming soon.

Update (12/19/2014): The first water well that was funded provided 1,300 people with access to clean water, so also less than we anticipated, but this well was also desperately needed.

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