Scripture and United Methodist tradition affirm a vision of abundant living where all God’s children have access to sufficient resources to thrive. The Bible is consistent in its vision of a just economic order. It warns against greed, calls us to love and care for one another, and compels us to seek justice for the poor.
“We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.” — United Methodist Social Creed, ¶166
The early church modeled this vision through radical sharing. (Acts 2:44-45) John Wesley, confronted with economic, social, and political changes brought on by industrialization, cautioned against the dangers of riches, the importance of stewardship and the harm of greedy behavior.
Today’s global economy is complex and interconnected, creating both massive wealth and massive inequality. As Christians, we understand local and global markets as human creations under the judgment of God. We must be mindful of the ways in which we as workers, consumers and investors participate in the economy. And further, we are called to challenge unjust practices and policies that continue to exploit workers, benefit a few at the expense of the many, and perpetuate poverty.
Our 1908 Social Creed was written as a call to action against the impacts of an unjust economy on individuals, families and communities. Today, The United Methodist Church continues its prophetic witness to advocate for a living wage in every industry, for the rights of all workers to organize, for the faithful stewardship of money and for moral budgets that prioritize the needs of the poor over the greed of the wealthy.