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.

The 2019 National Day of Prayer in the United States is today, May 2, and its theme is "Love one another," taking a queue from Jesus' instruction to his disciples, "Love one another, just as I have loved you" (John 13:34). There is no more fitting way to love than being a blessing to the people of our world. When we pray for God's blessing, let us pray because we want to bless.

These prayers make me ask again: What if the American dream could be leveraged to change our entire world? What if the frontier spirit of America had enough tenacity to transform lives around our planet? Americans are blessed so that they may be a blessing. Prayer coupled with action is the way for that to happen.

Blessed to Be a Blessing: A National Day of Prayer Message

On National Day of Prayer several years ago, I delivered a message in Casper, Wyoming about how America is blessed to be a blessing. I discuss the frontier spirit present in people like Henry David Thoreau, the power of prayer, the biblical view of blessing, and how our interconnected world presents us with a unique opportunity to lift people everywhere out of poverty.

 

Is the American Dream Still Alive?

In this keynote address, I discuss how I grew up in the shadow of the American dream in the oil boom in Alaska, raised by parents who are the epitome of the dream itself. I explain what growing up in the frontier spirit taught me about the power of being able to choose your future. I then relate this to how our entire world deserves this choice by telling a story from Bihar, India along the way. I explain how the American dream may not be fully alive today, but that it can be again, and show how that would change our entire world for the better.

American Jobs and Empowering People Overseas

Since part of Jesus' Economy's vision is to create jobs in the developing world, I often get asked, "What about American jobs?" It's a valid question and one I answered in my talk for National Day of Prayer.

I believe that Americans will have even more opportunity as fair trade jobs are created in the developing world. It will give Americans the opportunity to leverage our knowledge of markets, organization structures, and technical information to create work here. You cannot have fashion without fashion designers. You cannot deliver products in the U.S. without shipping facilities here. You cannot create a leading fair trade shop without employing technical people. What if the U.S. and other western countries could be the means to making fair trade work happen? And what if this industry, based completely on empowerment and freedom, was bigger than companies like Amazon and Facebook?

Peace and Creating Fair Trade Jobs Go Hand in Hand

Peace is a beautiful thing. In my talk I also explain that by creating fair trade jobs, we create friends and allies. We eliminate the possibility of exploitation and isolation. When we create fair trade jobs, we create a way for the U.S. to have peaceful relationships with other nations.

I believe there can be win-win-win situations in business, if business is based on Christian ethics. I believe that fair trade commerce creates such an opportunity. What if we could leverage the ideas that built America to make this happen? What if we were to spread the idea of economic and spiritual freedom around the world? Such an effort would create incredible and unwavering hope.*

We are blessed to be a blessing. On this National Day of Prayer, let's pray for that. Think of that as you use this guide for prayer from the National Day of Prayer Task Force.

Also, for regular inspiration, subscribe to the Jesus' Economy Podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

*This article is adapted from my earlier article, "Leveraging the American Dream to Change the World."

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.

Buy the Book Now

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.

 Find Out More  

LIFE CHANGING BOOKS THAT FUND JESUS' ECONOMY

The founder of Jesus' Economy, John D. Barry, is an author and editor. And now you can buy his books right on JesusEconomy.org! By purchasing John's books on JesusEconomy.org, you will help fuel the movement of Jesus' Economy. You will also get free shipping on every book! In addition, all of John's books are 10 percent off right now, for one week only!

SHOP JOHN'S BOOKS TO FUEL THE MOVEMENT

Not Your Average Bible Study Series

This series of studies works through books of the Bible verse by verse, even phrase by phrase, with practical prayer suggestions and guided reflection questions for individual or group study. For this series, John has authored studies on the books of Malachi, Colossians, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter and Jude.

Connect the Testaments: A 365-Day Devotional with Bible Reading Plan

This 365-day devotional, which John co-authored with Rebecca Van Noord, covers the full span of the Bible in one year. The included reading plan curates readings each day from the Old Testament, New Testament, and poetic literature. John and Rebecca’s devotionals will help you grasp how the entire Bible is connected to reveal and exalt Jesus Christ. Practical questions at the end of each section help you reflect on what it looks like to live out the love of Jesus in everyday life.

Cutting Ties with Darkness: How to Have Healthy Relationships

In this study of 2 Corinthians, John uses Paul’s relationship with the church he established in Corinth to explore how Christians should deal with broken relationships. This study will equip you with godly wisdom to help you discern when to reconcile in relationships and when to walk away, by cutting ties with darkness.


Use John's Books in Your Next Bible Study: Bulk Discounts Available!

These studies by John are perfect for your small group, Sunday school class, or small group. If you want to order several books for your group, we can offer you a bulk discount on John's books. Contact us at 1-855-355-3266 or info@jesuseconomy.org.


ABOUT OUR FOUNDER, JOHN D. BARRY


John D. Barry is the CEO and founder of Jesus' Economy. As such, he has dedicated his life to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. He also serves as a missionary with Resurrect Church Movement, the domestic division of Jesus' Economy dedicated to equipping U.S. churches to alleviate poverty and plant churches. John is the General Editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary. He has authored or edited over 30 books, including Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, Cutting Ties with Darkness, and the daily devotional Connect the Testaments. John formerly served as founding Publisher of Lexham Press for Faithlife Corporation (the makers of Logos Bible Software) and is the former Editor-in-Chief of Bible Study Magazine, a product he launched. John speaks internationally on engaging the Bible, poverty, and spreading the gospel.

We hope that these books will help you gain understanding of the heart of our organization and, most importantly, the heart of Christ. Each and every purchase goes to support operations to fuel the movement of Jesus' Economy. Now that’s a win-win.

Get 10% Off & Free Shipping on Books by John

 

At times, justice becomes a bit of a catch phrase, sadly even a cliché. Yet it’s one of the most important concepts we can understand and live. I have seen injustice with my own eyes, and each day the news tells each of us of acts of injustice. But rather than feel defeat, let’s stand up, take action, and do something about it. Here are four ways justice should be the cry of today’s Christian.

1. Jesus experienced injustice, so we would not experience judgment.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Jesus taking on our pain and anguish—and on the cross, we see him taking on our sin. Think about these four things Jesus says and prays in the Garden:

“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

“My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.”

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will must be done” (Matthew 26:36–46 LEB).

It is here that we see the man—Jesus. It is here that we find one who walks alongside the downtrodden, the hurting, the poor, the outsider, the refugee, the sinner—all the way to the cross. Here we find the one who walks alongside all of us, all the way to the cross. Here we see God enfolding, through Jesus, all people into his kingdom. Jesus does God’s will, so that we can have life.

In the garden, Jesus asks if the cup can be removed from him; but not his will, but God the Father’s be done. Jesus realizes the burden he is about to carry. This burden is described in Isaiah (over 500 years before Jesus) as:

“By a restraint of justice, [the servant] was taken away and with his generation.

Who could have mused that [the servant] would be cut off from the land of the living? Marked for the transgression of my people.

And [Yahweh] set his grave with the wicked, and [the servant] was with the rich in his death, although [the servant] had done no wrong, and there was no deceit in his mouth

Yet Yahweh was pleased to crush [the servant]; he afflicted him (with sickness). If [Zion] places [the servant’s] life a guilt offering, [the servant] will see offspring, [the servant] will prolong days. And the will of Yahweh is in [the servant’s] hand, it will succeed. Out of trouble of his life [the servant] will see; [the servant] will be satisfied by his knowledge.

[Yahweh says,] ‘My righteous servant will bring justice to many and he will bear their iniquities’ ” (Isaiah 53:8–11, my translation).

As painful as it is, it pleased Yahweh that Jesus should go to the cross, for it is in this that God found not just ultimate obedience, but also the bridging of humanity with himself. The judgment of God for our wrongdoings was satisfied. Once again, we were put into right relationship with God.

It is in Jesus that we find the refugee on the cross. Here we find the guilt offering for all of our wrongs. Here we find one who carries our sin, bears our iniquities, and intercedes for transgressors. Here we find a restraint of justice bringing justice to those who do not deserve it.

But what will we do with this justice, with this freedom?

2. Injustice is a threat to justice everywhere.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. in his work from Birmingham Jail. And it is injustice that we see today—all over our planet.

Near the end of his life, Martin Luther King, Jr. was working to bring equality by creating jobs. And yet, so much of the world still lacks jobs, because we haven’t completed the task. This is injustice.

We look around the world and we also see those who are oppressed—who lack spiritual and religious freedom, who lack knowledge of Jesus. This too is an injustice.

We must stand up, lift up, and rise up—to fight these injustices, boldly proclaiming that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

3. A lack of access to jobs and the basics of life is injustice.

We can read Jesus’ call to care for the “least of these” in Matthew 25:37–40 as a direct preface and parallel to what he will do on the cross. Jesus went to the cross to make us who do not deserve to be right before God, made right. And just before doing so, he calls us to live this message—noting for us that whether or not we did will be a primary question when he one day returns to earth.

So when we look around our world, and see a lack of access to basic healthcare, clean water, and jobs—like I have seen in the impoverished region of Bihar, India—we know that we must take action.

Jesus cries out for this. This is the Christian cry. And it is my personal cry, as I am personally broken for the hurting that I know in Bihar—for those who have placed their hands in my hands and cried out to God with me for justice.

4. A lack of access to the gospel is injustice.

We can also read the final words of Matthew’s Gospel, spoken by Jesus, as a commission based on his ministry in life, on the cross, and in his resurrection. And it’s a commission of action. Jesus says:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20 LEB).

Yet, there are still millions of people who have not heard Jesus’ name—again, this is the case in Bihar, India. In Bihar, there are 101 Million people who have never heard the name of Jesus. This again, is an injustice. All people deserve the chance to have access to the gospel.

The question becomes for each of us: What will we do about it? Why are we content with the knowledge of God, but not the actions of God? When will justice become part of the gospel? Because in actuality it is—we’re just not living it.

Do not walk away with guilt; walk away inspired to take action. Let’s continue the work of Jesus, the apostles, the early church fathers, and people like Martin Luther King, Jr. Let’s mark this season as the one everything changed, and we began to renew our world again with Christ, by his power and grace.

1 2 3 5 Next »