What is the common good? For Christians, it is expressed in the reign, or way, of Christ. We are accountable to God for how we treat one another; how we reflect the love of Christ through both our words and our actions.
Stewarding the Common Good
Jesus taught, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Matthew 22:38
In Genesis 4, God asks Cain the whereabouts of Abel, his little brother whom Cain has just murdered in a jealous fit. Answering God’s question, Cain snarkily retorts, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The correct answer for Cain is, “Yes, you are your brother’s keeper.” And the principle applies to us, too.
Woven through Scripture is God’s clear priority that we love and care for one another. The imperative finds clearest expression in the life and words of Jesus, who repeatedly teaches us to love everyone – friend, family, neighbor – even enemy. No exceptions.
Love for neighbor is a stewardship issue because we are responsible to care for all that God has entrusted to us, including community, relationships, and the welfare of others. Stewarding the common good is an essential component.
As North Americans, we haven’t done a very good job of stewarding the common good because our culture teaches us to “look out for number one,” as opposed to looking out for everyone. Consider how much of our political division and brokenness in criminal justice, education, healthcare, economics and government results from our thinking “what’s good for me,” rather than “what’s good for everybody.”
Stewarding the common good often involves giving up some measure of what would be good just for us. We sacrifice out of love to provide what is good for our neighbor. Is anything more Christian?
This year, especially as politics and division has embroiled and divided our country, study how the theme of loving our neighbor and stewarding the common good is woven through Scripture. What does it mean for you and the church? Think. Pray. Act.