A design by the artist Banksy, discarded life vests and skilled refugee women are three strands in the social enterprise Love Welcomes. The newly woven welcome mats have become a much sought-after designer item while refugees gain a new sense of purpose and a new way to sustain their families. In these extraordinary creative workshops, whether in a Greek refugee camp or in a UK city, migrant women reweave their life in which they gain new hope, skills and agency. It is one of many examples that shows what can emerge when we begin new conversations, enter new relationships sparking new ideas and allocate some resource that enable the flourishing of many.
In a world in flux, there is a unique role for entrepreneurs to help develop a new sense of belonging, purpose, justice, and fulfilment. Often it only takes a modest investment - a bit of wealth distribution generating a lot of wealth creation.
When we steward our time and gifting for the common good and employ our talents lovingly and strategically, it does the community good. Ancient Wisdom literature makes this strategic connection to our wider world: "When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices" (Proverbs 11:10).
An example is found in the description of a noble woman in the Wisdom literature.Her nobility is expressed in her business acumen, investing and re-investing in her extended household and those on the margins. She is commendable. Her work is commendable as her stewardship has a holistic impact on the wider community.The practice of wisdom generates blessedness, riches, peace - in other words, shalom, happiness.
Using our talents diligently, creatively and risky is key to the wellbeing God has in mind. Such stewardship generates an invitation into a shalom economy(Matthew 25:14-30). This parable of how to exercise our talents fuels our imaginative capacity and has the potential to shape business, economy, community life and our households. The Quaker entrepreneur George Cadbury captured this understanding of stewardship well; "We can do nothing of any value to God, except in acts of genuine helpfulness done to our fellowmen".
Wisdom is needed to be genuinely human. By living generously and taking creative risks in an age in which for many the horizons are narrowing, we can turn it into an age of aspiring to a kind of riches that develops the community with a greater compassion and serve the common good with all the talents and resources entrusted to us
When we track biblical wisdom and drill down into the spirit, law, and soul of economics we discover the intended ethical content. We find building blocks for a shalom economy in which land, animals and people thrive and the weak are provided for. Our riches towards God is expressed ingratitude, generosity, riches in relationship, an abundance of good deeds and a life of virtue. These vital segments for a new moral economy affect our individual housekeeping, our city’s and nation’s economy.
I started my reflection with one entrepreneurial hub. I could mention many others. And I hope that through our combined effort we will create a treasure chest of new initiatives that were born out of this creative grace that lifts our sight and opens the horizon.