Jesus’ Economy

Jesus’ Economy

Articles provided by Jesus' Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. In each community Jesus' Economy serves, they offer church grants, microloans, and meet basic needs. To fund life transformation, Jesus' Economy provides an online fair trade shop.

God Loves the Entire World and That's about to Change Everything

by John D. Barry

God loves the whole world—not just a single person, culture, or nation.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, emphasis mine).

How We Look at the World Changes What We Do

How we look at the world is a driving force behind who we are and what we do. When I think upon the fact that God gave his son so that all the world could be saved—not just me—I realize that I do not always act like that is the case. How often do I think about my felt needs over the needs of the planet?

I’m not just talking about recycling here—which is a good idea, of course. I’m talking about the need to move from a “me as the center of my concerns” viewpoint to a “other people being the center of my concerns” viewpoint.

Being a Christian means shifting our viewpoint. We need to shift our focus to our neighbors and outstretch our arms to the nations, like Jesus did when he outstretched his arms on the cross.

We need to change the way we interpret our world—so that God and his work is our focus.

Praising God is Part of Shifting Our Viewpoint

Our praise for God should cause others to praise him. We should think as the psalmist does:

“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations” (Psalm 108:3 ESV).

If we praised God as the psalmist does—ensuring that others heard our praises of God—I believe we would see a significant change in our world. People would hear about who he is and what he is doing and be moved by it. As people see Christians praising God because of his great work in the world, they will be moved by our worship to take action themselves. By praising God for his work around the entire world, we can put in a good word for Jesus, explaining how he has transformed our lives.

But praise is not so easy for many.

I Feel Disheartened about Today’s Circumstances

I regularly feel disheartened; I think we all do, if we’re really honest with ourselves. And as someone who has struggled with depression, I am even more aware than most of when I am feeling a bit down and out. But tackling poverty has helped me move beyond my own demotivating thoughts to a greater perspective.

Tackling poverty requires looking beyond today’s circumstances towards the future of what God wants to do. It has been through tackling poverty that I have been able to overcome many of the things that usually make me depressed. The work of empowering people in the developing world to overcome poverty forces you to think globally. It makes you look beyond yourself, to see how God is at work all over the world.

It is in having a type of global perspective that I find the ability to overcome negative feelings. I find comfort when I reflect upon how God is at work everywhere, orchestrating powerful changes for the world through his people, Spirit, and angels. Using these same ideas, and near the end of his life, Peter offers these comforting words to Christians:

“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires” (2 Peter 3:1–3 ESV).

It is easy to be a hater and a scoffer. And false teachers will preach against what God is doing—Peter is primarily speaking against them in his letter. But we can have hope in the promises of God and his work. We can look beyond our current circumstances and into the future of what God is doing and how he will move.

God’s global perspective allows for us to shift our focus, even when things are hard.

Allowing for God to Shift My Focus

God’s global perspective has also changed the way I view my efforts as a non-profit leader and as a publisher: Is what I’m doing to empower a particular community not just good for them, but all of humanity? Is it possible for me to publish content that will help the entire human race, not just one people group?

God is moving towards empowering the nations. It is within his plan. So why would I not want to be a part of it? The prophet says in Isaiah 52:10:

“The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”

The prophet goes on to reveal how the suffering servant is the figure that will bring this about (Isaiah 53:10–12). And it is in Jesus that this is fulfilled and that all people can come to God.

Having a Global Perspective on Prayer

The idea that God has a global perspective has also changed the way I pray. Why is God not saying “yes” to my request? Perhaps it has a negative affect upon someone else—and in my finite perspective, I can’t see that. I can’t point to a particular Scripture to back this up; it is just a hunch. After all, didn’t the disciples pray that Jesus would be freed? It sure seems likely. But if Jesus was freed before he reached the cross, we all would be without salvation (see Isaiah 53:10).

And this reveals something essential about prayer: Prayer is meant to center us upon who God is and what he wants to do. It’s not really about us—although it involves us. It is about him. And it is a chance for us to give others a great gift—prayer intercession on their behalf.

How often do I pray about my community, my company, and my life, before turning to the nations? When I hear a sad news story, do I pray only when it seems that it will affect me in some way? I hope that my emphasis isn’t on things related to me, but my concern is that it very well may be.

I am ready to shift my focus to God’s global perspective—and believe I can do so—but I know that it is only in God’s good grace and strength that I can do so. It is only through God that I can make significant changes (Philippians 4:13). Are you ready to focus on God’s global perspective?

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.

Why am I Here, Really?

by Charlotte Van Werven

Why am I on earth? It’s the most major existential question we ask. But perhaps it’s better framed as: What does God want from me?

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15–17 NIV).

These may be some of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. I’ve seen people read these verses and then completely shun the world. They think that this passage is telling them to live secluded lives and to ignore the people who ignore Christ—to simply reject the world.

But that’s not what God tells us to do. God loves the world, for he sent his son to die for it (John 3:16–17). Thus, God is not saying to shun the world; he is telling us to not love what the world loves. We should not love the world’s desires and passions.

In 1 John, the world is a metaphor here for evil desires. And the evil of this world will pass away, but “whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

God doesn’t want us to hate the world; he simply wants us to fulfill His good and perfect will.

So, What is the Will of God?

God’s will is for us to love him, and to glorify him in all that we do. Part of loving God is loving the people he created. If we truly love him, love for his creation follows (Matthew 22:37–39).

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16–17 NIV).

Here in John’s Gospel the metaphor of the world is representative of all of humanity—God loving humanity in spite of humanity’s evil acts.

It is not our job to shun the world; it is our joy to love the people in the world, as God loved them first—that all of humanity might be saved through Christ.

Putting Our Faith into Practice

Sometimes, loving the people around us can be incredibly hard.

A few days ago, I passed a group of kids who were smoking and way too young to be doing so. They were dressed very inappropriately and disrespecting the people around them. As a do-gooder, my natural response was to shake my head. I then simply looked at them, took pity on them for their ignorance, and kept walking. Then, a feeling of pride rose in my heart as I considered myself as someone who knows better. But that’s not what’s supposed to happen, nor what did.

As I walked by, my first thought was, yes, one of judgment. But as I kept walking, God reminded me that he wants something more of me: I am not supposed to judge nor just simply walk by.

We are supposed to take it a step further. We are called to love them.

How Could I Love Them?

Instead of just walking by, maybe I should have smiled at the kids, said hello, or tried to show them that I cared. I don’t want to be the scoffer that walks by. I also don’t want to be the person who “proclaims God’s Word” and then walks the other direction. I want to live out my beliefs—I want to glorify God. I want to truly show love.

If we are to glorify God, we must truly love the people around us—all of them. We must love the rich and the impoverished, the mean and the nice, the whole and the broken. Whether we like it or not, this is what we are called to do.

Loving the Impoverished, as Jesus Would

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (Luke 12:33 NIV).

The needy are not just the people who live on the streets. The needy are also those who don’t have Christ. The needy are the ones who are alone.

And we can be here for them. We can ask them what they need, and we can do our best to empower them—thus shining the light of God.

When we are able to see what really matters in life—when we see what God’s will truly is—we provide for the impoverished and needy, and we store up our treasures in heaven instead of on earth. We see what it means to live out of God’s desires instead of the desires of the world.

So, Why Am I Here?

I am here to glorify God. I am here to satisfy God’s will. I am here to love the whole world. I am here to love all of the people in the world.

How can I show them love best? I can show them I love them by empowering them. I can be here for them. I can walk up to them and have a conversation. I don’t need to push my love. I need to let it flow from me—just as God’s love flows into me.

We are here to love the world.

Charlotte Van Werven writes for Jesus’ Economy, a non-profit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in  the developing world. Jesus' Economy provides an online fair trade shop and is working to Renew  Bihar, India.

Begrudging My Cheerful Giving

It was a hot Saturday morning. My family had driven two and a half hours from our home in Lae, Papua New Guinea, to worship with a growing village church in the Markham Valley. We sat under a shady tree on a woven mat just meters from the over packed church listening to the pastor’s sermon. Seated beside us were a young woman and her 12-month-old son. My husband had given the baby our keys to play with—I couldn’t help but notice that the little fellow had one significantly crossed eye and had difficulty focusing on objects he was trying to see.

With the mother’s permission, I took some photos of the baby playing. After the service had concluded I introduced myself to the mother, taking mental note of the names of her and her baby so that I could locate them again after I talked to an ophthalmologist friend of mine.

“The child has esotropia,” my doctor friend said. He gave me a rundown on how it would affect the child and how it would best be managed. With difficulty we located the child’s mother through a pastor from a nearby village and made arrangements for her to bring her baby to Lae to visit an optometrist with me. The optometrist was to assess the baby and decide whether glasses would correct his condition, or whether he would require surgery.

I Think I’m Helping Here, But Am I?

In Papua New Guinea, gaining an education and obtaining a good job seems to be the best way out of poverty, and since parents depend on their offspring to care for them in their old age, parents have a vested interest in ensuring their children overcome poverty. It appeared to me that the small amount of money I might spend on the child’s eye treatment could have lasting dividends for his family.

But on Mary’s two visits to the optometrist in Lae, she appeared to begrudge the time spent in both travel and consultation, commenting that she didn’t think it was necessary: her baby would only pull glasses off anyway and she had relatives with crossed eyes that corrected as they grew older.

I paid for the consultations and both times gave Mary enough money to cover the cost of her travel. However, before leaving Mary asked if I could meet two immediate needs (or at least perceived needs): a mobile phone and accommodation when she visited Lae. It appeared that she would prefer I spend my money on these things, rather than on her son’s eye condition. Perhaps we might question Mary’s wisdom in this regard, but it did change the way I think about poverty.

What Would the Bible Say about My Approach to Poverty?

Throughout the Bible, there are references to assisting the impoverished with their needs:

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17).

“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land’” (Deuteronomy 15:11).

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of our Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

These are just a few of the biblical passages about the impoverished; so there is no doubt in my mind that we who love the Lord are called to bless those in need around us. We are meant to use the blessings that we have graciously been given from above to offer hope to others. But my experience with Mary raises an issue with that in my mind: How often do we, in our approach to the impoverished, decide for ourselves what they surely must want and need, instead of asking them?

I think Jesus has an answer to this dilemma. When responding to the cries of the two blind men in Matthew 20:29–34 and Bartimeus in Mark 10:46–52, Jesus both times asks “What do you want me to do for you?” He does this before taking action.

Helping the Impoverished with What They Actually Need

Before moving to Papua New Guinea, I lived in a remote country town in Australia with a large aboriginal population. I had heard that many aboriginal people slept on mattresses under the bridges around the town and many other places that did not seem at all appropriate to those of my cultural background. I had even heard of the aboriginal people in the town breaking apart their government-funded housing as quickly as new housing was being built. This all disturbed me, until I read an article that explained everything. In a local newspaper, an aboriginal person stated that the government need not spend its money on things that the aboriginal people, with their unique cultural background, did not need or want. The author believed that the aboriginals did not need or want housing. They merely wanted some land, with some shady trees and a washing/bathing block.

It is profound that countless dollars are probably spent on aid work meeting needs that are perceived by Westerners, but not felt by the recipients. Naturally, when something is not wanted, it is hardly going to be appreciated, preserved, or respected in the way that donors might expect.

It would appear that the best approach to meeting the needs of the impoverished would be to follow Jesus’ example: Ask the question, “what do you want me to do for you?” The answers of the impoverished might surprise us.

Kriselle Dawson writes for Jesus’ Economy, a non-profit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Jesus' Economy provides an online fair trade shop and is working to Renew Bihar, India. Kriselle lives in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where she is a full-time mom and homeschool teacher; she also serves with Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Lae City Mission.

3 Ways to End Sex Trafficking (and 6 Groups Fighting It)

Sex trafficking is tragic. It’s also a drain on human capital that stands in the way of women empowerment. Women (and men and children) who are victims of sex trafficking have no control over their bodies and capital. And as a result of the tragedies done to them, those who are trafficked have little control over their emotions and mental state. They are dominated by those who are trafficking them, whose goal is to make money off of their victims by forcing them into submission.

Even when a woman is able to leave a sex trafficking situation, she still needs help recovering her identity, so she may flourish in regular society. Some women have grown up in the life and need to be taught to do things like drive a car, write a resume, get insurance, and to even cook. Some will need serious medical attention or to get a passport. And some will sadly be rejected by their communities as unclean.

3 Ways to End Sex Trafficking

While we cannot eradicate sex trafficking (or any other kind of trafficking) all at once, we can make a gradual impact. We can do so by partnering with various organizations to help establish what are known as the "three Ps": Prevention, Protection, Prosecution.

  1. Prevention is attacking the issue before it starts by raising awareness among vulnerable individuals, advocating for certain laws to be put in place, and attempting to decrease demand through education.
  2. Protection involves the care of victims who have been taken out of trafficking situations. It is necessary that these victims are provided for. That can mean all sorts of things, ranging from healthcare to training the local police to identify victims and treat them appropriately.
  3. Prosecution involves the incarceration of traffickers so that they can’t continue to take advantage of people.

Together we can slowly, and steadily, raise awareness about sex trafficking and insist that governing bodies set standards—making this issue a high priority. We can partner with organizations that combat human trafficking by volunteering or donating money to care for victims. And most importantly, we can pray. Pray that God would give you wisdom to know what you can do about human trafficking. Pray for your community and what changes can be made to better prevent and fight human trafficking. And pray for the world; pray that the Lord would send Christian everywhere—to make known the good news of Jesus, which in and of itself will combat human trafficking.

More Resources about Human Trafficking

6 Organizations Fighting Human Trafficking

This list is by no means comprehensive. It includes four international organizations and two smaller organizations that we (or friends of ours) have worked with directly.

  1. International Justice Mission: "In nearly 20 communities throughout the developing world, IJM protects the poor from violence by partnering with local authorities to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, strengthen justice systems."
  2. Love 146: "Love146 is an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care, prevention education, professional training and empowering movement."
  3. Gray Haven Project: "The Gray Haven's mission is to provide hope and restoration to victims of human trafficking in Virginia."
  4. Exodus Cry: "Exodus Cry is built on a foundation of prayer and is committed to abolishing sex slavery through Christ-centered prevention, intervention, and holistic restoration of trafficking victims."
  5. Walk Free Foundation: "The Walk Free™ Foundation’s mission is to end modern slavery in our generation by mobilising a global activist movement, generating the highest quality research, enlisting business and working with government to drive change in those countries and industries bearing the greatest responsibility for slavery today."
  6. Engedi Refuge Ministries: Engedi Refuge Ministries is "for adult women who are recovering from the effects of sexual exploitation." They are about "healing the past, redeeming the present, and changing the future"; they conduct this effort via a safe house, holistic restoration, and education.

Defining Human Trafficking

In case you have never read a definition of human trafficking, or want more information, here is the United Nations’ definition:

"Human Trafficking: the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs."

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus

God Wants You to Feel Awkward

by John D. Barry

“Some things require hard prayer.”

The man who spoke these words to me should know: Biju Thomas is the director of Transformation India Movement—Jesus’ Economy’s partner in Bihar, India. Bihar is one of the most impoverished places in the world, where few have heard the name of Jesus. In Bihar, Biju is empowering people out of poverty and offering access to the gospel. His work is hard and requires hard prayer. In Biju’s work is a message for you. This message, believe it or not, is rooted in a bit of a sitcom joke from Jesus. It’s awkward and beautiful.

One Guy is Awoken in the Night, He Says to the Other…

Jesus understood that there would be times for hard prayer. And it wasn’t beyond Jesus to set up an incredibly awkward scene to illustrate this point. In Luke’s Gospel, after Jesus offers the Lord’s Prayer, he says:

“Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs” (Luke 11:5–8 ESV).

Jesus’ scenario is like a scene that a New York sitcom writer would set up: An old friend shows up in the middle of the night and is hungry. But you’re out of food and the store is closed, so you go to your neighbor’s studio apartment to wake him up. You knock on the door and he starts yelling…

To first-century Jewish people this scene is probably very awkward—and perhaps even a little funny. Within a culture that highly valued hospitality—with people who lived primarily in one-bedroom homes, before the age of phones, grocery stores, and electricity—these words from Jesus would have had an even greater affect. The scenario in the original audience’s mind probably went something like this:

I’m expected to help my guest, why would my neighbor not help me?… Oh, I guess you’re right. If I was sleeping and my children were asleep, and someone woke me up, I would probably be disturbed too.… And yes, if I were persistent, my neighbor would answer me. Even though it would be an incredible inconvenience to my neighbor, they would understand that I needed their assistance.

Jesus uses this entire analogy to explain hard prayer. It’s shocking and jarring to his audience—for a reason.

Hard Prayer According to an Awkward Scene

Jesus goes on to explain the moral of his story:

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10 ESV).

I think Jesus hits us with the awkward scene before the moral for a reason: Jesus wants us to remember that prayer is inconvenient. (The scene was so awkward that it made me uncomfortable when explaining it. And awkward is funny and memorable.)

Call upon God, and yes, he will answer. But that does not mean that God will answer right away. And it doesn’t mean that the call to God will be easy. Calling upon God—knocking on his door—will probably be as difficult as waking up your neighbor in the night.

Living with the Awkward

Prayer is a conversation. It’s about building a relationship. Who has built a solid marriage or friendship without some awkward moments and misunderstandings? Who tells stories about the convenient parts of their lives? Who would actually prefer to watch a sitcom over living one? If your life were a sitcom, it would be happening right now—are you living it? In all its awkwardness, are you living something memorable?

Jesus explains his scene further with another analogy:

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11–13 ESV).

For Jesus’ culture, it is not when he calls a generation of people “evil” that they are really shocked—it was accepted culturally that people needed a savior and were far from God. The most shocking thing that Jesus says is that the Holy Spirit will be given to those who ask the Father for it. The Holy Spirit was viewed as something that dwelled upon a few individuals—mainly prophets and sometimes kings, and every once in a while, priests—at select moments in time.

This ultimately represents what Jesus’ ministry is all about—God’s very presence dwelling among us and in us. It is Jesus’ death and resurrection that make this possible. Jesus bridges the gap between humanity and God, by bearing the sin of his evil generation and all others, allowing for God to dwell among us and in us.

Prayer is a conversation with the very God who is at work among us. God’s ways are not like our ways, and God wants to change our world for the better—that will lead to some awkward situations.

Following after Jesus—and seeking him through prayer—is not easy, but it is rewarding. My friend Biju is engaged in this type of hard prayer: It is the baseline for everything he does. It requires hard prayer to alleviate poverty and provide access to the gospel. It requires hard prayer to change the world.

Let’s get awkward for Jesus—praying through each moment.

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John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.

What Jesus Really Said about Poverty

by John Barry

In Jesus, God came as a poor man, lived as a poor man, and died as a poor man. He is good news to the poor. And as such, Jesus cared deeply about the impoverished.

Being What We Believe

What we do with our beliefs is as important to Jesus as what we believe. Jesus is about complete commitment to loving him and others. Jesus loves belief-filled actions, as his saying to a wealthy young man shows: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21; see 19:16–30 ESV). The man walks away sorrowful. Jesus then says his famous:

“Truly I say to you that with difficulty a rich person will enter into the kingdom of heaven! And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23–24).

Jesus’ disciples then ask, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looks at them and says: “With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25–26). Jesus is not suggesting it is impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, or be saved—He is saying it is only possible with God. And for God to enter a person’s life they must be open to Him entering.

Many of us are just like the rich young man. Out of one side of our mouth we speak allegiance to Jesus, but out of the other side we’re speaking allegiance to the trappings of wealth. I know, because the rich young man asks the same questions I would ask. Look at the events that prompted Jesus to make his statement about the wealthy:

“And behold, someone [the rich young man] came up to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do so that I will have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why are you asking me about what is good? There is one who is good. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments!’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘Do not commit murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and your mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘All these I have observed. What do I still lack?’” (Matthew 19:16–21).

Jesus is clearly frustrated and perhaps even offended: “Why are you asking me about what is good?” The man is asking the wrong question. He doesn’t ask how he can follow Jesus, or what it means to be a disciple—or what good thing he can do for the world on behalf of a good God. He asks, “What must I do so that I will have eternal life?” If we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t that the question many of us are asking God today? Jesus is unsatisfied with that question.

Eternal life (salvation) is God’s great gift, but it’s meant to be a gift that prompts action. It is meant to give us purpose.

When I was confronted with the reality of the story of the rich young man, I again asked another question that he asks: “Which [commandments]?” Jesus cites to the man all the relational Ten Commandments, and in doing so, basically implies, “All of them.” The man tells Jesus he has observed these and then asks, “What do I lack?” It is this question that gets to the root of the issue. Jesus tells the man that he lacks self-sacrifice for others—he lacks giving to the extent that it is painful to him. He lacks an ability to put aside his wealth for the sake of the gospel. Wealth is meant to bless others—plain and simple (see Genesis 12:1–3 for an example). It is not for hording, and it will—if not given up, when God prompts you—keep you from fully experiencing the blessings of God.

But do not fear, fret, or worry—instead, pray. Remember: “With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

What Jesus Would Say to Us Today

Put simply, when we apply Jesus’ sayings today, they look like withdrawing from any relationship, occupation, event, or thing that stands between you and following Jesus—permitted that you can do so while still honoring the commandments Jesus tells the rich young man to keep: “Do not commit murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and your mother, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:18–19).

Jesus has called us to join him in His work—to believe in it with all we have. The cost may be hard to bear or understand at times, but when it’s put in the perspective of all that Christ has done for us—dying for our sins—it seems like very little.

Jesus’ Currency and “Owning” the Problems of Poverty

The currency of Jesus’ kingdom is different than ours. Jesus’ economy is based on self-sacrifice and His currency love. For Jesus, belief and actions are one and the same—you cannot have one without the other.

The more I reflect on the problem of poverty—and what Jesus had to say about it—the more I realize that we own the problems of the impoverished as much as they do. Our inactions have created many of them. We—all of us—are at fault for the state of our world. But we can also join Jesus in changing the state of our world.

If Jesus believed that belief is about action, why don’t we? Why have we not dedicated ourselves to bringing true discipleship and love to others, when it’s what Christ told us to do? What good is belief without it offering true hope?

God has asked us to demonstrate our belief by bringing good news to those who feel hopeless. We are called to drop everything for Him—what is He calling you to drop for Him? This is Jesus’ view of the economy. He envisions what the world could look like and calls us to join God in the process of making that vision a reality. It’s about exchanging the currencies of this world for the currency of love.

An adapted/modified version of this article was originally published by "on faith"/"faith street" as "Five Sayings of the Homeless Jesus."

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.

Alleviate World Poverty with This Simple Decision

by Kriselle Dawson

Have you ever thought about world poverty and wondered what you could do about it? After all, you may not personally know any truly impoverished people and you are only one person, and what difference can one person make? I would like to share with you a story about how I came to see a little more clearly the issues of fair wages and improved working conditions, and how I could make a difference.

For most of my five years living in Lae, Papua New Guinea, I employed a Papua New Guinean national lady to work one or two days each week to clean my house—the local term for maid is haus meri. I can't say it was an arrangement I was entirely comfortable with, but it seemed to be the expected thing—and I liked providing some local employment—so I went along with it. 

It wasn't until watching the controversial film The Help one evening with friends that I began to think more about my relationship with my haus meri and others in similar situations. It was the scene where Hilly Holbrook declined Yule May's request for a loan of $75—the difference between sending one or both of her twin sons to college. Hilly's statement floored me: “A true Christian don't give in charity to those who is well and able. Say, it's kinder to let them learn to work things out themselves.”

It reminded me of an exchange I had had with my haus meri a few weeks prior. She came to me one day and informed me that her daughter was involved in a special children’s program at church and all parents were to prepare a chicken stew. She said that she did not have enough money to buy a chicken (about $10) that week and could I? I am embarrassed to say that instead of cheerfully obliging her simple request I instead waxed eloquent about how disgusted I was that the church leaders would expect the impoverished members to provide such an expensive dish and how risky it was to serve chicken dishes given that they would not be stored appropriately and would likely sit for hours before being eaten—the average Lae day is 86 degrees Fahrenheit and no refrigerators are available at the churches. Anyway, my haus meri didn't say anything more about the chicken and neither did I.

In hindsight, after observing Hilly and Yule May's interchange I felt ashamed of my inappropriate response to my haus meri’s simple and inexpensive (for me) request. I tried ever after to be more perceptive and more Christian in my relationship with my haus meri after that, whether she needed paint or glue for her child’s school project or help with school fees when her husband was out of work.

You might be wondering how all of this relates to you, and I will now explain the link.

The Bible says, “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7b). It also says, “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs” (Deuteronomy 15:7–8 NIV).

It is easy to see how the employer of a poor person can make a significant impact on at least that one person, but how does that relate to those of us residing in a developed, Western country without any poor folk in our employment?

We are the end-consumers of a host of products manufactured in developing countries. It is so easy to purchase our goods at fabulously inexpensive prices from the mega chain stores without any thought for the workers, their rate of pay or their working conditions. Our habit of spending as little as possible on any given item affects more than just our hip pocket—it drives down wages and the working conditions of those who already are impoverished. The people who produce the goods that you and I consume deserve to be paid a fair wage that will meet their needs and their family’s needs. The impoverished need not suffer unnecessarily because you and I want to extend our dollar a little further to buy yet more luxury and possibly superfluous items.

You may be wondering, “But what can I do about it? I am only one person amongst millions of consumers?” And, of course, you are right, but little by little you and I can make a difference by purchasing fair trade and ethically produced goods, and by raising awareness in our social networks and community.

Kriselle Dawson is a volunteer writer for Jesus' Economy. Kriselle lives in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where she is a full-time mom and homeschool teacher; she also serves with Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Lae City Mission.

A Just and Merciful God: Loving the Impoverished Like God Does

by John D. Barry

Once you meet people in deep and extreme poverty, you understand the fury of the prophets. It was in a slum in Bihar, India, where my heart first cried out for both justice and mercy—as the prophets did before me.

I Felt the Injustice; I Saw the Need for Mercy

“This part of the village needs clean water,” the woman in her early 40s remarked to my friend Biju Thomas, the director of Transformation India Movement (Jesus’ Economy’s partner in Bihar, India). The look on her face, as she expressed her people’s needs, will never leave my mind. It was anger combined with pain—she was grateful that some people in her slum now had access to water, but infuriated by the fact that everyone had abandoned her outside of Transformation India Movement.

This woman understood that she needed mercy, but she also understood that she was a victim of injustice.

But where did the injustice the woman felt begin? The scary answer: The injustice she felt is something we all have inflicted upon her—each of us who has ignored the tragedy of poverty in some way or another. The even scarier answer: The reason why injustices in our world continue on is because we, as Christians, are not dealing with our own spiritual poverty—and that’s what is holding us back from tackling physical poverty.

The Incredible Tension between Justice and Mercy

The biblical prophets held in the balance mercy and justice. When they looked at the world, they saw that both must be present for God’s love to be fully known—for his kingdom to arrive. They realized that God is both full of justice and mercy.

The prophet Isaiah once said:

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18 ESV).

God is gracious and he desires to show mercy—and he is also a God of justice. God holds in the balance all these things; we should attempt to do the same.

But for justice to exist, purity must also. Without coming to terms with God, it’s difficult to come to terms with what we must do for others.

“Wash! Make yourselves clean! Remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes! Cease to do evil! Learn to do good! Seek justice! Rescue the oppressed! Defend the orphan! Plead for the widow! ‘Come now, and let us argue,’ says Yahweh. ‘Even though your sins are like scarlet, they will be white like snow; even though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool’” (Isaiah 1:16–18 LEB).

At the core of empowering other people must be a deep spiritual awareness of ourselves. God desires for us to learn to do good, and he wants us to cease from doing evil, but we must know him deeply to be able to fully accomplish this. It’s the epitome of the old adage, “You can’t help someone else, if you can’t first help yourself,” but with a twist, “You can’t help someone else (bring them justice and mercy), if you don’t first let God help you.”

Pinpointing the Problem with How We Address Poverty

If forced to pinpoint the primary problem with both local and global development today, I would say: It’s looking at the physical problems without looking at the spiritual issues, and looking at the spiritual problems without a concern for the physical. Our efforts to empower others are almost always focused on either spiritual or physical poverty, when we should focus on both. Most of us have taken half of God’s message to the world and left the other half (see Hosea 2:1–20; Micah 6:7–8; Amos 5:23–24; compare Isaiah 52:13–53:12; John 3:16–17).

God is a holistic community developer; the problem is that we’re not naturally inclined to be. God cares about the entire life of a person and the entire life of a community. The problem is that most of us don’t care about people’s entire lives—really—if we’re honest with ourselves.

What God Really Desires of His People

We could despair about the differences between how we address poverty and how God would have us to—or we could simply articulate the injustices, in an effort to move forward. Incredibly, the biblical prophet Micah articulates very well the injustices of today:

“‘Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil [i.e., with abundant offerings]? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:7–8 ESV).

We know what is good and what God desires—we must simply take action. We must live the principles of justice, love kindness, and walk humbly before God.

Having Empathy Like the Prophets

I felt the cry for justice rise in me again as a woman in a village in India said: “My baby is sick and has been for several weeks. I’m praying for him. He needs prayer.” You could tell she was holding back the tears and so was I.

“My baby’s arm is broken—motorcycle accident,” mentioned another woman in a different village. “He needs care,” she said, “But I don’t have any money.”

For all three women, care was offered—their stories, though, represent life in Bihar, and people all over the developing world for that matter. For many women in the developing world, help never comes. They are left in their suffering.

We know what the prophets would do. We know how they would react and act. They would correct the injustices of the world by offering mercy—may we do the same.

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.

Jesus Wants Us to Go the Extra Mile

By Kriselle Dawson

It was a beautiful sunny weekend in Papua New Guinea, and we were on a mission. A boarding school, which provided its students with two meals of rice daily, was about a 45 minute drive out into the valley. We had decided that this week the students were going to eat some greens (aibika, or island spinach) and sweet potato with their rice for additional nutrients, so we set off in our car to find some. 

We drove to the main market in town, but it was closed. We carefully eyed the stalls along the highway, but they were only selling betel nut, maggi noodles, and fruit. We stopped and looked at the market nine miles from town, but no one was selling vegetables. We crossed the Markham River and kept our eye out for an open stall. 

After a little while, we saw a group of people sitting in one of the wooden stalls with some bags, so we stopped and enquired if they had produce to sell. No such luck. They were just sitting there waiting to get a ride to another village. We explained what we were trying to do and asked if they knew of anywhere that might be selling such things. One lady, acting as spokesperson informed us that if we could drop the others off at the village, she would come with us and show us where to buy the produce, and once we were done we could drop her off at the village, also. Feeling somewhat nervous about having this group of strangers (which included men) in the car, we consented to her plan.

Going the Extra Mile

True to her word, after dropping off her friends and family, she directed us to a tidy village then led us to a particular hut. After a brief discussion with the occupants in their Tok Ples (local language), a lady produced some large sacks of sweet potato. Another discussion ensued to determine price, and we handed over the agreed amount and went on our way. Our guide then led us further down the highway to another village. This time, after a chat with one of the villagers, we were led to a vast garden where its owner immediately harvested a large amount of aibika for us to purchase. 

Very grateful for the lady's assistance, without which we would never have accomplished our goal, we dropped her off at the village where earlier we had taken her relatives, thanking her profusely for having gone the extra mile for us and for the school.

Taking Care of the People Around Us

The Bible talks about this extra mile. Following the Beatitudes in Matthew Five, we find Jesus telling the multitude just what kind of people God wants us to be. He wants us to be giving, loving, forgiving, gentle, going-the-extra-mile people. He takes the Ten Commandments and then says to do more. Being a follower of Jesus is much more than not killing, not stealing, or not having affairs. We need to go further and take good care of the people around us—including our enemies. We need to love them, bless them, do good to them, and pray for them. In verse 48, he says, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

I know God has a lot of work to do on me before my character will be like His. I take heart from what Paul writes in Philippians 1:6: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” I hope that we all can be as selfless and as giving as the Papua New Guinean woman in my story—going that extra mile for the sake of others.

Kriselle Dawson is a volunteer writer for Jesus' Economy. Kriselle lives in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where she is a full-time mom and homeschool teacher; she also serves with Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Lae City Mission.

Jesus Cares About Abused Children

By Kriselle Dawson

While living in Papua New Guinea, I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer at a crisis center for children. The children varied in age from newborn to 18-years old and came from all kinds of backgrounds. Here, I saw heartbreak after heartbreak, but was reminded that Jesus must shed many tears, as he certainly sees the way that children are abused and mistreated here in Papua New Guinea, and on earth.

At the crisis center, there was a boy of about ten or eleven who was sexually abused by a male security guard while living on the streets, and as a result could no longer control his bowel movements and was therefore excluded from school. There was the teenage girl who suffered fainting episodes when she recalled the rape and other abuses she suffered at the hands of relatives after her parents died. There was the boy who was brought to the crisis center by his father because his new stepmother did not want him and was neglecting and abusing him. There was the girl whose mother died in childbirth and was taken in by a great aunt who never showed her love: When the girl was thirteen, the aunt tried to force her into marriage to collect her bride price. There was the new baby whose mother had schizophrenia, had been impregnated by a security guard, and then actively tried to give away her baby—refusing to breastfeed her.

In the midst of such pain, I can only look to Christ. There is nowhere else I can find answers. But we know from the Scriptures that Jesus regards children highly and loves them very much: 

“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And he laid his hands on them and went away” (Matthew 19:13–15 ESV).

This is one of my favorite stories: The care and attention Jesus showed must have given the mothers of those precious children much hope and encouragement as they continued day by day in the invaluable role of motherhood.

We find yet another encounter between Jesus and a child in the previous chapter, Matthew 18. The chapter opens with the disciples asking Jesus who would be greatest in his kingdom. Jesus’ response must have surprised them. Beckoning a little child to come join their group, he replies, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Becoming a child is something to aspire to—to be humble, innocent, teachable, and dependent on those in authority. Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:5 ESV).

Here, I think, is the key to what Jesus would have us do in response to the atrocities committed against children globally. With childlike humility, without any desire for praise or selfish gain, we are to meet the needs of children in the name of Jesus Christ, our example and source of strength.

Perhaps God is calling you to provide financial assistance to an orphanage or crisis center for children. Perhaps God is calling you to offer intercessory prayer on behalf of abused and neglected children. Perhaps God is calling you to open your home to adopt or foster a child. Perhaps God is calling you to mentor your child’s friends. Perhaps God is calling you to bring the children in your neighborhood to church, so that they can learn of the love of God. So many children in the world—and perhaps even in our community or neighborhood—are crying out for help. And every one of us is capable of helping in one way or another.

They might only be small, and they might not have much voice or power, but children are precious to God, and should be precious to us. Protecting and nurturing them, and providing opportunities for their futures, especially their eternal futures, ought to be dear to the hearts of each of us.

Kriselle Dawson is a volunteer writer for Jesus' Economy. Kriselle lives in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where she is a full-time mom and homeschool teacher; she also serves with Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Lae City Mission.

Where Have the Carefree Days Gone?

It's been almost 30 years, but there was a semester when I was carefree and my choices didn't feel so frantic. I lived with only a thin foam mattress, an orange milk crate holding three t-shirts and two pairs of jeans, and a bike. That baby blue Schwinn got me from my apartment on El Cajon Boulevard and the only other places I needed to go: two classes at San Diego State University and my boyfriend's house. We only had 20 bucks at any given time, so there weren't many options. Of course, who needs money when you have young love and a sandy beach?

That was a long time ago. Today, I have more resources and more stuff which brings with it a boatload of options. I no longer grab one of three t-shirts without a thought. Now, I stand in the closet, wondering what I will possibly wear. Endless decisions shrink us into pin-balling, muddle minded undeciders who no longer know what we want out of life.

I'd like to think that that world is my oyster. We have never had more opportunity and freedom to decide. I just hate to admit that 55 coffee options on a swanky chalkboard confuse rather than empower me. I feel the endless decisions as if I'm suffocating, or at least bleeding. I only know this because I've written about choices for over ten years.

One of my unpaid jobs is to write, so I sit a lot. Drafts become boring and stressful because I don't make any money, so I look for opportunities to procrastinate. I could still choose a baby blue Schwinn, but now I like to walk. I head outside as much as I can without feeling as if I'm wasting time. The exercise clears my mind while I think about the next sentence.

Sometimes I walk just for a word.

I also get outside to wrestle with my thoughts on how I can empower people to become better decision makers. I don't find the right answers staring at social media all day, at least answers that God tries to quietly whisper to my own spirit and hopefully yours. The Bible helps, but so do the walks.

So much of this non-fiction is about a single verse in an old book, but the following pages are also the result of an awareness that happens when our eyes are up walking in the world, instead of gazing down at life on a screen. The text is meant to be a tool to help us step away from the multitude of choices, take a sabbatical from the rat race, and ask ourselves why we do things just because we learn them from our mom.

The walking also makes a space in my mind for powerful metaphors.

On one of my walks, I noticed blood on the sidewalk. It was dark red, dried up, and dribbled all along the pavement. How did the blood get here? Did the sufferer know she was even making a mess?

The thought brought me back to the day I wore white pants to work and a fellow co-worker stopped me to ask what was wrong with my leg. Turned out, I had cut myself shaving in the morning rush to check in by 8:00 A.M., and during my 30 minute commute to Seattle, I bled like a banshee through my linen trouser leg.

I didn't know I was bleeding until someone pointed it out.

Today I want to do for you what my co-worker did for me. The metaphor lies within these questions:

Are you wounded and bleeding from decisions you've made?

Are you choosing from a true place within the unique soul God created when He carefully formed you?

Are your closets and cupboards full, but you have no time?

Are the choices you make today setting you up for freedom or slavery down the road?

This excerpt is from Kim Galgano's redemptive memoir The Chance to Choose. Galgano is the founder of Chicks with Choices ™ and Dudes with Decisions ™, outreach ministries devoted to help people blend faith with everyday decisions and uncover the unique path they were meant to live. You can order The Chance to Choose here.  A portion of the proceeds from The Chance to Choose will be donated to empowering women in Bihar, India via Jesus' Economy.

I Saw Jesus Once

by John Barry

I saw Jesus once.

Bihar, India, 2013. The room was hot and humid. As drops of sweat clouded my eyes, I looked at Kari—she sat at a table on the other side of this large concrete room. Gracefully, Kari moved her hands across the threads wound into newspaper clippings. The clippings were in the shapes of kids clothing; women in the room, one by one, were bringing clippings to her. My friend Biju leaned over and whispered to me: “She is testing them. She was once destitute, but through our empowering women program, she learned to be a seamstress and is now self-sustaining; she teaches these women to be the same.”

Looking into Kari’s eyes as she worked, I realized that this is what Jesus, the carpenter, does. This is Jesus, working through her.

I Know Where Jesus is and Will Be

At the final judgment, when the world as we know it will reach its end, Jesus says he will say:

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:34–40 ESV).

“Lord, when did we see you?” “Here, here, and here,” he essentially says, “among these people, everywhere. That’s where I was and that’s where I am.”

“I am,” God says to Moses, when describing himself (Exod 3:14). Inherent in his self-description is the question, “Then, who am I? Where am I?”

I’m not sure about you, but when Jesus comes again, I want to be found with the impoverished. Because as I understand it, that’s where Jesus is. Kari knows this and lives it: Kari sees Jesus everyday. And when I see Kari, I see Jesus.

The God of Colors and Curry

Kari showed me each of the beautiful creations of these wonderful women, one by one. The colors were as bright as India; the threading as delicate as the balance of a good curry. In the colors, I saw beauty and hope. I saw Jesus turning craft into livelihood, and livelihood into freedom. Here he is, where am I?

I already knew that I wanted to empower women in Bihar, India. I desired to help them take their craft to the next level, so that they could sell products on the western market, generating more income for their families and communities. But it was in this moment that I realized what this really meant.

I had been given the grand vision of Jesus’ Economy. It was my job to be faithful to its ideas, including connecting entrepreneurs in the developing world to global commerce. But I didn’t really know what that vision meant until this moment.

In this moment, I wondered if I really knew Jesus at all. Because looking at the way Kari represented the great carpenter, I wondered if I would ever represent him as well as she did. In the colors and the smell of curry, I saw hope not just for these women, but for my own heart.

Oh, Beating Heart, Learn to Beat Well Again

As I looked at Kari, I thought of Mary the mother of Jesus.

Mary’s response to God was simple:

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 ESV).

In Kari, there is this type of obedience to Jesus. And as a response to Jesus, Kari has chosen not just to rise out of poverty, but to help others do the same. She knows what it means to share the heart of God. She could capitalize on her skills and monopolize, but instead she teaches her skills to others, because that’s what Jesus would do.

Like Kari, Mary didn’t just become Jesus’ disciple; others came along with her.

“But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25 ESV).

When all of Jesus’ disciples leave, but John, it’s three empowered women at the cross.

Mary’s heart must have been palpitating, as she watched her son suffer and die. As the tears streamed down, she must have felt his pain as only a mother can. And then it happens:

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:26–27 ESV).

In this final moment of Jesus’ life, his concern is for his mother. Is he telling her, “Behold, your son!” (speaking of himself) or is he looking at John the Apostle and saying, “Behold, your son”? Either way, the love of this moment is painful to watch. Jesus knows that Mary will need someone now to care for her. Joseph, Mary’s husband, is likely dead at this point, and as a widow of this period, Mary needs a male to look after her, as she has little hope of survival in her culture otherwise.

Mary, as the first to truly know and understand Jesus, is the one to watch him die. She shows what it means to be a true disciple.

When I examine Mary’s heart against my own, I know that my own heart is lacking. It’s selfish and ugly; there is much growth yet to happen. My heart is not like Mary’s; nor is my heart like Kari’s.

The Beautiful Things Out of Dust

At the foot of the cross, in the dirt, surrounded by enemies, we see what it means to follow Jesus. Coming off the dusty road in Bihar, India, looking into the eyes of Kari, I see beauty. “You make beautiful things out of the dust,” as the band Gungor says, “you [God] make beautiful things out of us.”

God is making beautiful things, in the colors and the curry, and among the impoverished.

I saw Jesus once. Do you see him?

John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop. He is currently leading Jesus’ Economy efforts to Renew Bihar, India—one of the most impoverished places in the world where few have heard the name of Jesus.