- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Baker Books (April 17, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801075742
- ISBN-13: 978-0801075742
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Practicing the King's Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give Paperback – April 17, 2018
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From the Back Cover
"Here is economic wisdom for humans with habits and desires, immersed in patterns and practices. Here is a model of economic discipleship that doesn't just tell you what to think but how to practically live in an economy of the kingdom. Here is a book that refuses idealism but is fueled by resurrection hope. But you can't pull this off on your own, so buy copies for your family, friends, and congregation."--James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College; author of You Are What You Love
"The authors show how biblical mandates work justice and equality in the real world. Their testimonies, grown out of their own experiences, will be life-giving for any reader who cares about economic neighborliness."--Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary; author of The Prophetic Imagination
"This is a powerfully practical book."--Joel Belz, founder of WORLD magazine
"This book is good--really good. I found myself thinking differently about the economy, the marketplace, the kingdom of God, his Word, and even why God put me here."--Henry Kaestner, managing principal of Sovereign's Capital; cofounder and former CEO of Bandwidth
"This book is an incredibly helpful tool for all Christians who desire to live a countercultural life for the common good, especially as it relates to their money and resources."--Gabe Lyons, coauthor of Good Faith; founder of Q
Michael Rhodes is director of community transformation at the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies, where he heads up efforts to equip pastors and community development practitioners with theologically informed tools for community transformation.
Robby Holt is senior pastor at North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and teacher and theological dean for the Chattanooga Institute for Faith and Work.
Brian Fikkert is founder and president of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College. He is the coauthor of several books, including When Helping Hurts and From Dependence to Dignity.
About the Author
Michael Rhodes is the director of community development and an instructor at the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies, where he heads up efforts to equip urban pastors and community development practitioners with theologically informed tools for community transformation.
Robby Holt is the senior pastor at North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and teacher and theological dean for the Chattanooga Institute for Faith and Work. He teaches theology of work and New Testament courses for the Chattanooga Fellows Initiative.
Brian Fikkert is the founder and president of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College, where he also serves as a professor of economics and community development. He is the coauthor of several books, including When Helping Hurts and From Dependence to Dignity.
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Practicing the Kings Economy is truly inspirational and enlightening experience. I say “experience” because these authors are making sure that Practicing the Kings Economy is more than just about reading a good book. It’s about transforming the lives of the readers. They have established a web site and an online devotional paired with sections from the book. This book changes the way we think about helping others. If God’s economy is a potluck rather than a soup kitchen, our primary problem isn’t that poor people “out there” are hungry and hurting. Our primary problem is that because of economic poverty and sin, the poor aren’t participating fully in the joyful life of the community, giving and receiving gifts.
It is a challenging book for the reader because it lays out clearly the spiritual requirements to participate in of the Kings economy. Along the way it askes some difficult questions: “Imagine you’re offered your dream job, but it pays half your current salary. Would you take it?...What steps could you take to simplify your life so there would be more to share? Keep in mind that in the immediate term, this might require also releasing yourself from debt so you might be freed for greater generosity in the future, ‘prepared for every good work’ (Titus 3:1 LEB). Also consider how you could give the excess you free up in such a way that it draws you into relationships, particularly with those in need.”
Worship: The way we approach work and money in our lives can be worship and it can also be idolatry. “Giving signals and solidifies our allegiance to and dependence on God and his kingdom” (p. 54). God is a generous Creator and we are being his image-bearers when we are generous ourselves.
Community: God doesn’t want us to live independent economic lives, but has designed us for community. His laws show us that he is creating for himself a family and the economy in that family should be one of interdependence and generosity. We are to aim our wealth at the good of the community rather than only thinking of our own lives. A way this is practiced throughout the Bible and could be done today is by feasting together “across racial and/or social economic lines” (p. 124) because in Jesus’ economy everyone has a unique plate to bring to the potluck.
Work: One of the ways we have a plate to bring to the potluck is through our work. God calls us to work and to make sure work is available to others. We see this in the gleaning laws in the Old Testament. Rhodes describes this as “bend[ing] [our] economic lives toward the marginalized, creatively and sacrificially leaving some of our own profits in the field to create opportunities for struggling workers in our societies” (p. 143). Not maximizing profits is completely against what the economic policies of the American kingdom would say. In practice, this could look like being willing to hire ex-felons or teenagers from low-income communities. Social enterprises start businesses specifically for the purpose of community change. Rhodes quotes the Social Enterprise Alliance’s description of this approach, which he says is the future for unprecedented progress in these areas, as having “the social mission of a non-profit…with the market-driven approach of a business” (p. 148). For example, the owners of Lucy J’s Bakery worked in the food industry and in fundraising with Dorothy Day house for homeless people, so they started a bakery where they intentionally hire homeless people so that they too can bring a plate to the potluck.
Equity: Old Testament laws like the Jubilee ensured an equitable and inclusive community by making sure the poorest don’t get permanently stuck being poor, and by making sure that those who have much don’t have too much and those who have less don’t have too little. In Deuteronomy 15:4, God says that if they follow his economic laws, there will be no poor among them. A way we can be economic disciples toward equity is through impact investing. Impact investing “refers to financial investments that accept a lower financial return in exchange for a higher social return” (p. 186). In other words, they may not be the best business moves by American economic standards, but they are doing some good in the world.
Creation Care: Jesus’s death and resurrection is good news for all of creation because all of creation will be renewed. We have a special role in the created world as the conduits of God’s blessings to it. Because of sin, we become vehicles and conduits of curses to the created world rather than conduits of blessings. Our job is to serve and care for the world, and we are to love and delight in the world like God does. Rhodes says, “It’s not just stuff for us to use, but a living beauty to be stewarded and cared for and unpacked in ways that honor our wise King.” A simple way to be a good economic disciple in this area is to bend some of our purchasing power toward things that are good news for the land and animals, especially those who we partner with in our economic lives.
Rest: Lastly, the Sabbath is an important part of the economy. God wants to give us the “blessed and holy gift” (p.240) of rest, as he rested when he created the world and calls us to imitate him. Good work is work that occasionally stops. This is practiced in making sure we receive rest for ourselves, but also making sure we give rest to those who depend on us. We also see in the Bible how Sabbath years brought all the people together in equal status.
Jesus is God the King in the flesh who came to ransom his world and establish his kingdom on earth. Economic discipleship is learning to work, give, save, invest, share and spend like Jesus is the king and we are his citizens. When we invest our time and energy in living by the policies of Jesus' economy, it will be be good news for us, the people around us, and the land and animals, and will draw others into the saving faith of Jesus as they see how generous and caring our God is. That’s a task worth giving your life to, and this book is a great start in learning how to do that in practical ways. Don't miss it.