According to need
Acts 2: 44-47
44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Money is earned on the basis of work completed and this principle underpins the continued struggle for ‘equal pay for equal work’. It seems only right and fair that the same amount of money is given for the same amount of work undertaken. Yet this approach does not seem to take into account how much money each person needs.
The First Book of Disciple, published in Scotland in 1560, decided that there should not be a flat-rate for stipends but that ministers should be paid on the basis of need. After all, “if equal stipends should be appointed to all those that in charge are so unequal, either should the one suffer penury, or else should the other have superfluity and too much”. Fairness might well depend on where you are standing.
Radical God, We are so attuned to demanding what we deserve on the basis of what we have done; yet, in your eyes, we all deserve to receive what we need. Flip our worlds upside down, so that, instead of crumbs falling from the lofty heights of our self-preservation, true justice permeates from the bottom up, AMEN.