Each Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I reflect on Rev. Dr. King's legacy and his words. I then ask myself, "Am I willing to live as self-sacrificially as he did? Is my life measuring up to the standard that MLK believed in?"

When reflecting on Dr. King, we often think of the "I Have a Dream" speech and the movement MLK led. But what's often neglected is King's equal focus on the inward life of each individual. King believed that without inward transformation of individual lives, without spiritual transformation, that sustainable change would not be possible. This is because King believed that we are all "interdependent."

The Interdependence of All People According to Martin Luther King, Jr.

This "interdependence" of all people is articulated in one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s lesser read works, The Measure of a Man, where he says this:

"Therefore whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good check-up at Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent."

"This is the way our world is made. ... We are interdependent." If only we remembered these words as we remember Dr. King and his legacy. Think of how different our world would be if we recognized that no nation, no segment of society, and no individual is more important than the whole human race.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dimensions of a Whole Life

In The Measure of a Man, King does what a good reverend would do (did you forget that he was foremost a pastor?) and preaches the Bible. From the Bible and philosophy, King speaks of three dimensions of a complete life:

  1. Your inner being (or inner life).
  2. Other people, whom we serve by using our calling, skills, and gifts.
  3. God himself, who is above all.

King describes this as a triangle:

"These are the three dimensions of Me, and without the three being correlated, working harmoniously together, life is incomplete. Life is something of a great triangle. At one angle stands the individual person, at the other angle stand other persons, and at the top stands the Supreme, Infinite Person, God. These three must meet in every individual life if that life is to be complete."

In other words, what happens in my inward life (my relationship with myself and my relationship with God) has direct implications upon your life.

Rev. Dr. King Suggests Measuring Life by Three Questions

Today as we reflect on Rev. Dr. King's legacy, we can ask ourselves the three questions behind his model for measuring our lives:

  1. How am I loving myself (by tending to my inner spiritual life and honing my gifts and skills)?
  2. How am I loving other people (by making my life an act of service to other people)?
  3. How am I loving God (by spending time with God and in godly community)?

These three questions are deeply rooted in a well-known interaction of Jesus:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:36–40).

It does not seem like a stretch to say that these words served as the basis for MLK's entire life philosophy. To read Dr. King without Jesus in mind is to miss the core worldview that guided his life.

Dr. King's View of the Complete Life [INFOGRAPHIC]

According to Dr. King's The Measure of a Man, the complete life looks like this infographic.

Dimension One of Life: Me

While there are some people whose lives seem envy worthy, because they have acquired wealth and power, they lose what King calls "the breadth of life." Even a life with cultivated skills and a honed inner life will lack meaning. The cultivation of skills and the honing of gifts is essential, but a true and deep inner examination should lead a person to look beyond themselves.

Dimension Two of Life: Us

Some people learn to care deeply for other people and that gives their lives "breadth," a meaning beyond themselves. And King has in mind here much more than just care for one's family and inner circle: "we are [all of humanity] interdependent ... we are all involved in a single process, ... we are all somehow caught in an inescapable network of mutuality."

The inner life then becomes something cultivated for larger purposes: it is not for my gain but the betterment of humanity.

Humanity is made by God to be interconnected. This is why the second greatest commandment is to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:36–40). What is good for you is also good for me. What is good for them is also good for us. What is good for humanity betters my life even (and perhaps especially) when it requires personal sacrifice.

Dimension Three of Life: God

"Seek God and discover him and make him a power in your life. Without him all of our efforts turn to ashes and our sunrises into darkest nights. Without him, life is a meaningless drama with the decisive scenes missing."

In the end, life without God and his community, the Church, is lacking. It is God who moves to create lasting change and God to whom we look for the grace required to do the work of making our world a better place. It is God who can break down national, racial, ethnic, and economic barriers.

The Full Life According to MLK: Love God + Love People + Love Self

King remarks that if one is to measure a life's success at accomplishing God's purposes, we need simply to remember three things:

"Love yourself, if that means rational, healthy, and moral self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That is the length of life. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That is the breadth of life. But never forget that there is a first and even greater commandment, 'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy mind.' This is the height of life. And when you do this you live the complete life."*



The work of Dr. King has been a deep inspiration to me. In many regards, his work inspired me to change my entire life and dedicate it to serving the impoverished and people yet to hear Jesus' name. King's views on the interconnected world and the centrality of the church influenced me as I wrote my recently released book, Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change.

*This article is adapted from my earlier article, "The Complete Life According to Martin Luther King Jr."

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.

Today is National Book Lover's Day. A day set aside to encourage bibliophile's to put down technology (after you read this post of course) and pick up a book to read. 

On this day, all things books are celebrated. Reading, exploring new books and/or genres, literature, book clubs, writing a book, and shopping for books are all great ways to spend the day. And we thought, what better way to celebrate Book Lover's Day than by recommending a book to you? 

Grab our Founder and CEO John D. Barry's latest book, Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, The Currency of Love, And A Pattern for Lasting Change from our Fair Trade Shop.  The Jesus' Economy book offers long-term solutions to poverty around the world and what you can start doing right now in your own church and community. 

Jesus’ Economy is a call to address our own spiritual poverty—as people who can too easily become distant from Christ—and it is a call to address the physical poverty all around us in a smart and sustainable way. Jesus’ teachings show that with simple, everyday choices, you can make the world a better place and create enduring change. Here’s how to live Jesus’ economy—a currency of love.

Best part? 100% of the author’s proceeds from this book go to the nonprofit Jesus’ Economy, to fuel the movement of creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Plus, it's on sale right now at Amazon for only $11.70! Just click the "Buy on Amazon" button on the Jesus' Economy book page. 

And if you've been bitten by the buy-all-the-books bug, check out our other books written by John D. Barry! 

Today is World Fair Trade Day, when people around the world come together to support products that lift people out of poverty. In honor of World Fair Trade Day, here are four ways that fair trade is a Christian value. But before we jump in, you may be wondering, what makes a product "fair trade"?

Defining Fair Trade

The term “Fair Trade” describes an economic exchange in which laborers receive a fair living wage. The basic goal of fair trade is to create a more just and equitable world, where people are paid wages that adequately provide for their needs and are commensurate with their labor.

Fair trade matters for the sake of our world. And it matters for Christianity—here are the four primary reasons why all Christians should support fair trade.

1. We Are Opposed to Exploited Labor

The majority of what we purchase in the U.S. is based on unjust economic exchanges. The exploitation of labor in developing nations reduces the costs we pay here in the U.S. And as such, a large portion of clothing manufactures, and producers of other items, aim to pay people the smallest amount possible. This is a practice that we as Christians should oppose—not just with our words, but also with our wallets.

While it is not possible yet to buy everything you need from a fair trade manufacturer, there are many fair trade options. One day, God willing, we will be able to buy everything we need at fair trade wages and fair trade will be the norm.

2. The Bible Advocates for Justice and Equality

Fair trade represents justice and equality. And justice and equality are key tenants of Christianity. On this point, the prophets especially come to mind. Over and over again the prophets call us to live the principles of justice, mercy, and humility (e.g., Micah 6:6–8). Near the beginning of the book of Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah records God saying:

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:16–17 ESV).

We should plead the widow’s cause by buying products that empower women. We should learn to do good by understanding the implications of our purchases. We should live the principles of justice. If we desire justice, then we should make justice a priority when it comes to our purchases. If we believe in equality, then we should back that with our entire lifestyles.

3. Fair Trade Creates Jobs for the Impoverished

Work is central to who we are. It was a major part of the lives of the apostles and something they advocated for (e.g., Acts 18:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). But work is not an option for some—they lack the opportunity. And where work is available, it is not a fair exchange. We can change that through creating fair trade jobs.

If done right, fair trade is one way to change lives through business. Fair trade products are purchased at a price that allows for people to overcome poverty. Fair trade creates safe, sustainable, and profitable jobs. It also provides high quality products for people around the world to use and enjoy. 

4. We Can Create a Jesus Economy

If Jesus was to create an economy, it would be based on love and self-sacrifice. But fair trade isn’t even asking for self-sacrifice; it’s asking that we simply respect people—that we show them the dignity of being paid what their work is worth.

Fair trade represents life transformation for impoverished artisans. It represents a chance for their dreams to become real. It means their families having sustainable incomes and real money coming into their economies.

Jesus envisioned a world where we truly loved our neighbors (Mark 12:31). Fair trade is a way for us to show his love. It’s a way to live what we believe.*

For more on fair trade, see the Jesus’ Economy Fair Trade Standards. Also, check out the Jesus’ Economy online Fair Trade Shop, where you can alleviate poverty simply by shopping. 

Shop Fair Trade

 

*This article is adapted from my earlier article, "Why Fair Trade Matters to Christianity." The artisan featured above, Benson, is a living example of why fair trade matters: Read Benson's fair trade story.

World Book Day celebrates all aspects of a book—reading, publishing, authors, illustrators, even the copyright. Most importantly, the day is marked to encourage people around the globe to read and to enjoy what they read. 

When the founder of Jesus' Economy, John D. Barry, set out to write a book on how to empower the impoverished, he decided to consult a global cast of Christian leaders prior to publication. Since that moment, more than 30 Christian leaders around the world have read and endorsed his book, Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change

What better way to celebrate World Book Day than by sharing what these Christian leaders had to say about the book? 

“John Barry has written an inspiring and readable account about Jesus, poverty, and the mission of the church. This book tells you what poverty is, where it is, what Jesus said about it, and how you can follow Jesus’ commands to end it. A great introduction to the socioeconomics of poverty, as well as Christian teaching on the subject. Great resource for pastors, students, and church groups!”

—REV. DR. MICHAEL F. BIRD

Author, Evangelical Theology and What Christians Ought to Believe

Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

Author, Euangelion blog, Patheos.com

“In Palestinian culture, we are accustomed to saying, ‘If poverty were a man, I would have killed him.’ This book shows us how Jesus wants to alleviate poverty through the sacrificial love of His followers. Such love is only possible through a vital relationship with Jesus and also with the poor. John D. Barry prophetically reminds us that we cannot be true followers of Jesus and ignore the poor. We cannot separate physical and spiritual poverty. In Jesus’ Economy, we find disturbing contemporary data, heart-stirring stories, and inspiring challenges, as well as opportunities for ministry. The book informs us, inspires us, and gives us the opportunity to be involved in addressing poverty in biblical ways. I recommend this book to every Christian who desires to know how Jesus wants us to help the poor.”

—REV. DR. YOHANNA KATANACHO

Academic Dean, Nazareth Evangelical College, Nazareth, Israel

Reconciliation leader in Israel and author, The Land of Christ: A Palestinian Cry

Old Testament Editor, Arabic Contemporary Commentary and Asia Bible Commentary

“Considering the passion and action that John Barry and his wife, Kalene, have put into this project, I trust they must be prompted by God to do so. Barry shares deep insights into wealth and poverty from Jesus’ perspective. Jesus’ Economy is well worth reading, pondering, and putting into action, especially in this day and age.”

—DR. JULIE LEE WU

President and Dean, China Bible Seminary, Hong Kong

Recipient of Women in Leadership Award from the Association of Theological Schools

“Inspiring and eye-opening, John D. Barry’s Jesus’ Economy is a rallying cry for all believers to meditate on and rethink the Great Commission in practical, humanitarian terms. John and Kalene, as fellow humanitarians and followers of Jesus, are committed, as we are, to the cause of seeing poverty erased in our world through the only successful means possible—the way of Jesus Christ and His gospel.”

—TASS SAADA

Author of the best-selling, Once an Arafat Man and The Mind of Terror

and KAREN SAADA

Founders, Hope for Ishmael, a reconciliation ministry between Arabs and Jews

Founders, Seeds of Hope, a humanitarian organization serving the people of Jerusalem, Jericho, and Gaza

“John Barry’s Jesus’ Economy is not just a must-read, but it is also a book that the global church needs to embrace and use to teach Jesus’ life-changing and transformational principles. Barry is a terrific writer and an unusual type of Christian leader: he can correctly be described as a selfless, shepherd, servant type of leader. Barry’s ministry, the nonprofit Jesus’ Economy, makes a case for this book. Jesus’ Economy is a narrative of how to conquer the twin enemies of the human race: corruption and poverty. Barry gives the church not just theories and empirical data on poverty, but also concrete and practical examples of Jesus and His disciples’ models of poverty alleviation. Our churches in Africa can comfortably use this book in Sunday school or theological seminaries. I strongly recommend it to members of the global church who want to engage in the mission of God!”

—DR. SUNDAY BOBAI AGANG

Professor of Christian Ethics, Theology, and Public Policy, ECWA Theological Seminary, Kagoro, Nigeria

 

“Oriented in the global landscape of poverty and impoverishment, John D. Barry’s Jesus’ Economy is biblically anchored and remarkably personal. His self-engaged 'I-voice' and narrative approach will appeal to audiences of all ages—'to all who hope to make the world a better place.' Captivating both in theme and writing style, Jesus’ Economy is a delightful read—informative and thought-provoking yet practical, providing pointers and directives for alleviating poverty both overseas and right where you live.”

—DR. BARBARA M. LEUNG LAI

Research Professor of Old Testament, Tyndale University College & Seminary, Toronto, ON, Canada

International trainer of missionaries

Author, Glimpsing the Mystery: The Book of Daniel

Jesus’ Economy is a wonderful biblical and practical study—and it comes from the heart and mind of an expert in the field. John Barry sheds light on one of the most important issues of our day: that the church recognize its mission, not only inside its walls, but also outside them—looking after the impoverished, those whom Jesus cared about the most. The only hope for overcoming poverty in the world today is in Jesus and His church. Please don’t read this book if you are not ready to change your heart, mind, and attitude!”

—REV. DR. THARWAT WAHBA

Chairman, Missions Department, Evangelical Theological Seminary, Cairo, Egypt

Chairman of Council, Pastoral and Outreach Ministries for the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church of Egypt

Author, The Practice of Mission in Egypt

Jesus’ Economy is an invitation to a journey of faith in Christ’s transformative love. It equips you to uplift and to dignify the poor and, in so doing, glorifies Jesus Christ, who became poor that the world may experience the riches of that transformative love. The book also challenges humanity, particularly the church, to live a life of fruitfulness and worthy sacrifice.”

—DR. DAVID K. NGARUIYA

Director of PhD in Theological Studies Program, Nairobi International School of Theology

Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, International Leadership University, Nairobi, Kenya

Coeditor, Communities of Faith in Africa and the African Diaspora

“What can we do to bring about restoration and transformation in our society, which is in many ways characterized by injustice, unfairness, and brokenness? First, we need a new outlook and a new approach. Jesus’ Economy will not only change your perspective of the world but also motivate you to change your response toward those who are suffering and impoverished. John Barry discusses the stark reality of society’s brokenness, including the unjust distribution of resources in the world. But he also provides a framework for creating a better world as we join hands with Christ, who died to transform society holistically. Jesus' Economy is a great resource for any context.”

—DR. A. N. LAL SENANAYAKE

President, Lanka Bible College and Seminary, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Coeditor, Educating for Tomorrow: Theological Leadership for the Asian Context

Jesus’ Economy is a clear demonstration of the good news in action! John Barry shows us how God’s powerful grace and cross-shaped love are being manifested in our world of dire need. With moving stories, engaging information, and relevant teaching about empowering the impoverished and sharing the gospel, we are given a front-row seat to many such godly interventions. Barry, who is eminently competent to lead us on an incredible journey, shows us how we, too, can partner in nothing less than ‘Jesus’ economy.’”

—DR. JACOB CHERIAN

Vice President and Dean of Faculty, Southern Asia Bible College, Kothanur, Bangalore, India

“In Jesus’ Economy, with the passion that characterizes him, John Barry challenges us to revisit our commitment to the needy, from two fronts. First, through a compelling case, he invites us to study and follow Jesus’ dedication to the poor. Second, due to his broad experience in the field, he gives invaluable advice to those who are involved in—or looking to be involved in—ministries to the impoverished around the world.”

—DR. NELSON MORALES

Professor of New Testament Studies, Seminario Teológico Centroamericano, Guatemala

Jesus’ Economy is both a significant scholarly effort and a practical manual for missions. It reaches the North American reader, as well as my context of Eastern Europe and other regions. John Barry challenges, on both biblical (special revelation) and logical (general revelation) terms, the American church’s contemporary perspective on global missions. He invites us to work toward a holistic approach of sharing the gospel. We do this by moving away from both the culturally insensitive, imperialistic paradigm and the culturally sensitive, ‘withdrawal’ method—which prevents the contemporary church from achieving its global impact. Jesus’ Economy demonstrates how we can serve and empower the impoverished by allowing indigenous leaders to lead the way while providing for basic needs, fully loving other people, and giving sacrificially.”

—DR. GELU PAUL-FAINA

Founding pastor, Vox Domini Baptist (Multisite) Church, Romania

President and founder, Churches with Global Impact;

National Director, Ambassadors for Christ Romania

“The title Jesus’ Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change is an incredible description of what you will discover in John Barry’s new book. It is an excellent resource on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as a model for the contemporary church. Reading Jesus’ Economy will provide you with a foundation for holistic, cross-cultural ministry in a world void of love and compassion. The church is called to be part of God’s transforming mission to bring His kingdom to all nations. Barry shows how we can empower the global church by supporting the work of indigenous leaders and local believers. I heartily recommend this book to all who want to gain a biblical and theological perspective on how to follow and model Jesus today.”

—DR. ANTONIO CARLOS BARRO

Founder and CEO, South American Theological Seminary, Londrina, Brazil

Jesus’ Economy offers a sound biblical understanding of poverty—both its roots and its alleviation. John’s text is personal and sincere, written with humility, and reflects the author’s actual experience of dealing with the needy. The approach he advocates is relational and holistic, bringing the soul and the body together. Moreover, John offers some very practical and feasible ideas for how to alleviate poverty through the local church. Worth reading!”

—DR. ANDREY KRAVTSEV

President, Intercultural Connections (a nonprofit in Russia mobilizing pastors to serve in areas with little Christian presence)

Former President, North Caucasus Bible Institute of Russia

“In the context of the developing world, Jesus’ Economy translates the Scriptures into reality. John Barry shows that we must first live within the sacred text—allowing it to read us, examine us, bring life to us, and transform us. It is here where we personally encounter God. In this way, with the biblical text as our interpretive lens, drawing us into communion with God, we can understand how to best eradicate poverty according to Jesus’ economy of sacrifice and love.”

—BISHOP PHILIPO MAFUJA MAGWANO

Africa Inland Church, Tanzania

 Celebrate World Book Day and grab your copy of Jesus' Economy today!

Buy the Book Now

 

In his new book, the founder of the nonprofit Jesus' Economy shares incredible, and often shocking, stories about working among the impoverished and unchurched in the U.S. and abroad. And since John D. Barry is a Bible scholar, Jesus’ Economy is also deeply rooted in the Scriptures. It is a personal, sometimes funny, often heartbreaking account that presents a revolutionary pattern for lasting change. Now you can read the Prologue and the first three chapters of Jesus' Economy for free.


What You'll Get Out of Jesus' Economy

The book is called Jesus’ Economy because it’s about creating a spiritual and physical economy for those who need it most. Here is a thoroughly biblical and compassionate pattern for addressing issues of poverty and offering the hope of the gospel. Jesus’ Economy:

  • Shows how you as an individual can best encourage renewal in your community.
  • Demonstrates how your church community or any group can alleviate poverty.
  • Presents a unified plan for creating jobs, spreading the gospel, and meeting basic needs.
  • Focuses on community development and sustainability—lasting change, globally and locally.

Read the Free Sampler of Jesus' Economy

Read Sample Pages


Pick Up Your Copy of Jesus' Economy

With everyday choices, you can make the world a better place. Learn how in Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change. 100% of author's proceeds go to the nonprofit Jesus' Economy, to fuel the movement of creating jobs and churches in the developing world.

AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND DIGITAL MOST PLACES BOOKS ARE SOLD

Buy on JesusEconomy.org

 

 

When John D. Barry set out to write a book on how to empower the impoverished, he decided to consult a global cast of Christian leaders prior to publication. More than 30 Christian leaders have now endorsed, Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change. Here's a sampling of what they're saying.


“In Jesus’ Economy, John Barry points us toward a world where everyone has ‘this day our daily bread.’ Barry reminds us that God didn’t make a world of scarcity, or a world with too many people. Poverty was created by you and me, as we fall short of loving our neighbors as ourselves. As Gandhi put it, ‘There’s enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.’ We created poverty. And we can end it. Jesus and the early church show us the way. In this book, you will find an in-depth look at Scripture and economics, and a beautiful vision for a world where everyone has enough.”

—SHANE CLAIBORNE

Cofounder, The Simple Way and Red Letter Christians

Author, The Irresistible Revolution and Common Prayer

Jesus’ Economy is fast moving and 'heart' hitting. It will bring conviction. It will also give you hope. I am happy to commend its widest reading.”

—DR. DANIEL L. AKIN

President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Author or editor of numerous books and Bible commentaries, including I Am Going (with Bruce Riley Ashford) and Vibrant Church (with Thom S. Rainer)

Jesus’ Economy weaves together Scripture, realities of the world of poverty, and in-depth personal experience to produce a fine handbook for practical mission work. For John Barry, effective ministry is informed, holistic, and sacrificial—and his life bears this out.”

—ROBERT D. LUPTON

Best-selling author of several books, including Toxic Charity; Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life; and Theirs Is the Kingdom

President, FCS Urban Ministries

“John Barry has written an inspiring and readable account about Jesus, poverty, and the mission of the church. This book tells you what poverty is, where it is, what Jesus said about it, and how you can follow Jesus’ commands to end it. A great introduction to the socioeconomics of poverty, as well as Christian teaching on the subject. Great resource for pastors, students, and church groups!”

—REV. DR. MICHAEL F. BIRD

Author, Evangelical Theology and What Christians Ought to Believe

Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

Author, Euangelion blog, Patheos.com

“Considering the passion and action that John Barry and his wife, Kalene, have put into this project, I trust they must be prompted by God to do so. Barry shares deep insights into wealth and poverty from Jesus’ perspective. Jesus’ Economy is well worth reading, pondering, and putting into action, especially in this day and age.”

—DR. JULIE LEE WU

President and Dean, China Bible Seminary, Hong Kong

Recipient of Women in Leadership Award from the Association of Theological Schools

“John Barry’s Jesus’ Economy is not just a must-read, but it is also a book that the global church needs to embrace and use to teach Jesus’ life-changing and transformational principles. Barry is a terrific writer and an unusual type of Christian leader: he can correctly be described as a selfless, shepherd, servant type of leader. Barry’s ministry, the nonprofit Jesus’ Economy, makes a case for this book. Jesus’ Economy is a narrative of how to conquer the twin enemies of the human race: corruption and poverty. Barry gives the church not just theories and empirical data on poverty, but also concrete and practical examples of Jesus and His disciples’ models of poverty alleviation. Our churches in Africa can comfortably use this book in Sunday school or theological seminaries. I strongly recommend it to members of the global church who want to engage in the mission of God!”

—DR. SUNDAY BOBAI AGANG

Professor of Christian Ethics, Theology, and Public Policy, ECWA Theological Seminary, Kagoro, Nigeria

Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Author, No More Cheeks to Turn? and When Evil Strikes: Faith and the Politics of Human Hostility

“Jesus-followers with a kingdom perspective approach life as one big mission trip. John Barry’s Jesus’ Economy provides a clarion call to live as viral kingdom agents (the answer to ‘Why am I here?’) but also provides practical ways to love our neighbors (‘What do I do?’ and ‘How do I do it?’). John accomplishes this without scolding and shaming. Instead, he persistently encourages. The message of the book is ‘You can do this!’ We sometimes allow difficult circumstances or stalled progress to challenge our faith in this certainty. Then a book like Jesus’ Economy comes along and helps us believe all over again.”

—DR. REGGIE MCNEAL

Best-selling author whose works include The Present Future, Missional Renaissance, Kingdom Come, Kingdom Collaborators, and A Work of Heart

Missional Leadership Specialist, Leadership Network

“We often think of poverty as just an economic issue, but poverty has both economic and spiritual roots and effects. John Barry understands this and in Jesus’ Economy, he offers a long-term strategy for healing both physical and spiritual poverty: job creation, church planting, and meeting people’s basic needs, with a focus on community development and sustainability.”

—DR. JAY W. RICHARDS

Author of many books, including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated and Indivisible, and the 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award-winner Money, Greed, and God

Research Assistant Professor, Busch School of Business, The Catholic University of America Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute

Learn to live Jesus' economy, the currency of love. Pick up your copy of Jesus' Economy today.

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Whenever I read the words of Dr. King, I am struck by how clearly he understood the world's problems. I also stand in awe of his belief in the power of the individual to do right and change the world. In one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s lesser read works, The Measure of a Man, he says this:

"Therefore whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good check-up at Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent."

"This is the way our world is made. ... We are interdependent." If only we remembered these words as we remember Dr. King and his legacy. Think of how different our world would be if we recognized that no nation, no segment of society, and no individual is more important than the whole human race.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dimensions of a Whole Life

In The Measure of a Man, King does what a good reverend would do (did you forget that he was foremost a pastor?) and preaches the Bible. From the Bible and philosophy, King speaks of three dimensions of a complete life:

  1. Your inner being (or inner life).
  2. Other people, whom we serve by using our calling, skills, and gifts.
  3. God himself, who is above all.

King describes this as a triangle:

"These are the three dimensions of Me, and without the three being correlated, working harmoniously together, life is incomplete. Life is something of a great triangle. At one angle stands the individual person, at the other angle stand other persons, and at the top stands the Supreme, Infinite Person, God. These three must meet in every individual life if that life is to be complete."

Dr. King's View of the Complete Life [INFOGRAPHIC]

According to Dr. King's The Measure of a Man, the complete life looks like this infographic.

Dimension One of Life: Me

While there are some people whose lives seem envy worth, because they have acquired wealth and power, they lose what King calls "the breadth of life." Even a life with cultivated skills and a honed inner life will lack meaning. The cultivation of skills and the honing of gifts is essential, but a true and deep inner examination should lead a person to look beyond themselves.

Dimension Two of Life: Us

Some people learn to care deeply for other people and that gives their lives "breadth," a meaning beyond themselves. And King has in mind here much more than just care for one's family and inner circle: "we are [all of humanity] interdependent ... we are all involved in a single process, ... we are all somehow caught in an inescapable network of mutuality."

The inner life then becomes something cultivated for larger purposes: it is not for my gain but the betterment of humanity.

Humanity is made by God to be interconnected. This is why the second greatest commandment is to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:36–40). What is good for you is also good for me. What is good for them is also good for us. What is good for humanity betters my life even (and perhaps especially) when it requires personal sacrifice.

Dimension Three of Life: God

"Seek God and discover him and make him a power in your life. Without him all of our efforts turn to ashes and our sunrises into darkest nights. Without him, life is a meaningless drama with the decisive scenes missing."

In the end, life without God and his community, the Church, is lacking. It is God who moves to create lasting change and God to whom we look for the grace required to do the work of making our world a better place. It is God who can break down national, racial, ethnic, and economic barriers.

The Full Life According to MLK: Love God + Love People + Love Self

King remarks that if one is to measure a life's success at accomplishing God's purposes, we need simply to remember three things:

"Love yourself, if that means rational, healthy, and moral self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That is the length of life. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That is the breadth of life. But never forget that there is a first and even greater commandment, 'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy mind.' This is the height of life. And when you do this you live the complete life."



The work of Dr. King has been a deep inspiration to me. In many regards, his work inspired me to change my entire life and dedicate it to serving the impoverished and people yet to hear Jesus' name. King's views on the interconnected world and the centrality of the church influenced me as I wrote my recently released book, Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change.

John Barry here, founder of the nonprofit Jesus' Economy. Have you ever had one of those moments when, after a long journey, you feel like you finally understand what God has been doing?

On the road of following Jesus into the unknown of starting the nonprofit Jesus' Economyand then selling our house and most of what we own to go full-time with the organization—Kalene and I have often felt vulnerable, scared, and even alone. But along the way, Jesus has taught us much and drawn us closer to himself. Today, I have the honor of presenting that journey to you in the form of my new book Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change.

In the book Jesus' Economy, I invite you to journey with me into the unknown. I tell you stories from my time serving with the nonprofit Jesus' Economy in Northeast India, working among the homeless in the Pacific Northwest, and working on church planting initiatives in a primarily unchurched area of the United States. As I lived these stories, God taught me what it means to truly love. That's why I share them with you.

This journey also goes into the ancient world as we learn from our teacher Jesus, his earliest followers, and the biblical prophets. In their teachings, we find that a biblical pattern for alleviating poverty and sharing the love of Jesus emerges. Throughout the book, I draw on my background in biblical scholarship to answer the question, "What is a biblical view of poverty?" It's probably not what you would guess.

At the heart of the book is an idea that changed my entire life. That idea is that Jesus has a new economy in mind. Jesus' economy is based on self-sacrifice and his currency is love.

I want to empower you to live Jesus' economythe currency of love. And that's why the book Jesus' Economy includes an entire section that is very practical. It tells you how to sustainably and effectively alleviate poverty in a wide variety of contexts.

Join the movement by picking up your copy of my new book Jesus' Economy. 100% of my proceeds go to the nonprofit Jesus' Economy to fuel the movement of creating jobs and churches in the developing world.

Announcing the Book ...

Jesus' Economy

For years, we've been working on a resource that empowers you to alleviate poverty and share the love of Jesus. On Tuesday, it arrives. Announcing our founder's book Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change.

How to live Jesus' economy—a currency of love

The book Jesus’ Economy:

  • Shows how you as an individual can best encourage renewal in your community.
  • Demonstrates how your church community or any group can alleviate poverty.
  • Presents a unified plan for creating jobs, spreading the gospel, and meeting basic needs.
  • Focuses on community development and sustainability—lasting change, globally and locally.

Support the movement by placing your pre-order today.

100% of author's proceeds go to the nonprofit Jesus' Economy, to fuel the movement of creating jobs and churches in the developing world.

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