Jubilee USA
Building an economy serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable. 

Lesson of the Manna

Let's first turn to Exodus 16, the story of the manna in the wilderness, which is the first teaching about the Sabbath Day. The striking lesson of this familiar story is that God had to reiterate over and over again that all were to gather enough and only enough to eat, so that there would be enough for all. Having just been liberated from slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel had to learn how to live in freedom. They were called to develop a lifestyle and a socio-economic order in which all would have enough. The Sabbath Day was not so much about rest and religion.

It was about remembering that they were liberated slaves, liberated to live in freedom. They were not to allow some to accumulate and others to become poor.

We find echoes of this basic lesson in important New Testament passages. Note, for example, the phrase, "Give us this day our daily bread," in the Lord's prayer. Surely this means what it says, i.e., to ask for enough, no more, and to ask for all of us to have enough, not just me and my family. In fact, some have suggested that we have no right to pray this prayer if we are not committed to and working for enough bread for all God's people!

Look at the Pentecost experience. Among the "signs and wonders" we find that the new believers "were together," "had all things in common," and "day by day . . . they broke bread from house to house and ate their food with glad and generous hearts." (Acts 2:42-47) Another echo of the manna story.

Finally, one of the Apostle Paul's mission strategies was to gather offerings from the European and Asian congregations for the poor in Jerusalem. He based this challenge on "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9) And he cited the lesson of the manna, just ahead in this same passage. "As it is written, the one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little." (2 Corinthians 8:15, Exodus 16:18)

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