I had an interesting discussion with a donor who works at a national retail company. She was telling me that as a company they did an in-store education program to help re-focus their store in a different way. This desire to re-focus came from thinking about the culture of people who are part of the millennial generation and younger. They talked about a “sharing economy.” The difference between a Boomer like myself and even a Gen-Xer is that we really want to be self-sufficient. We want our own cars, our own houses, our own resources. This company is looking ahead and saying that is not always going to be true of people. We have the rise of Airbnb, where you look at your home as a possible income stream when it’s sitting vacant. There are now loaning programs for your car: so you don’t need to have a car, you can just dig into the sharing economy.
This sharing economy is not new. The Bible talks about it in the book of Acts when the early church shared everything they had, including eating meals together. In past generations, we’ve dismissed that sort of communal idea. But the culture is now rising up as one that desires a sharing economy, where our stuff is a resource to us. Something to think about: a new way of utilizing our excess to help us really understand what it means to be a community—particularly as the Kingdom of God.