Jesus said unto him, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Matthew 19:21
To be labeled a redistributionist in today’s political environment, a distinct pejorative among conservatives, all you have to do is to talk about sharing: finding some more equitable distribution of the resources available to us all for the common good. Jesus the Christ was a redistributionist. Of course, there is a promised transfer of a distinctly different sort of wealth to where God dwells and where we too can come if we simply follow him.
Ministers remind us that the early church, those believers who knew Jesus or heard of him through those that did, shared all they had. This makes the Christian church the kind of communistic operation that gives nightmares to the wealthy and well-connected. Most of us do not practice what he preached. That includes the author of this post. If we all found ways to share downward just a little more of what we have, however small, what an impact that would make. Sharing downward could become a real craze. People doing it all over the place. Giving to charities would soar.
But there is an even greater arena where this kind of sharing downward needs to occur. It is where the money really is. Large corporations might consider funding both the local symphony or some public tv station and add some direct charitable work with community organizations, churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and those charities that do most to directly aid the poor. All the great religious faiths have a component of giving.
Government too can concentrate more on aiding the least fortunate and less on giving advantage to those whose purses are already swollen. Jesus also said that it would be “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
This sharing downward is something much larger in conception than might be first thought. It is tough to get our heads around it. Let’s see if we can. Those of us who are employed in good jobs in the wealthier, developed nations, are rich men when compared to the teeming billions of people on the other side of the globe. There must be a sharing outward as well. We might even permit the poorest man or woman to give something they have for another. Giving to others feels good. It is a very contagious disease we all need to contract.
We all can return to school and learn to share. Then we all can be redistributionists and have the honor of being condemned for it like Jesus of Nazareth was. Find ways to give things you have: possessions you do not need but someone else may need desperately. Donate money when you can and even when you cannot. Give of your time to help others.
Our world must build wealth and resource highways to bring to the poor and oppressed all that they need. Those who are poorest in wealth and position might be richest in heart, soul, and kindness.
SHARE DOWNWARD, AND SHARE OUTWARD: BECOME A REDISTRIBUTIONIST.