Moving away from the plane of morality to a deeper or human plane
Injustice to appropriate action to Justice
Prophet Nathan said to David, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
After listening to the story, King David was angry at the injustice. Now we can imagine the situation slightly differently,
If the rich man have taken one of his sheep or cattle to feed his guest, how we will call his action? It would have been an “appropriate action".
Another scenario could be imagined. Now if the poor man has a very important guest, what can he do? One of the obvious responses is that he provides from what he has, which may not include a serving of the meat of the sheep. I was just thinking of the possibility of the rich man offering him a sheep from a sheep from his herd. Sometimes we will name such a deed, which was not the responsibility of the rich man, as Charity. Charity in biblical understanding refers to love, but in our common understanding charity means an act of generosity done by someone towards a cause (it’s not his responsibility).
I am just wondering whether naming such an act as Charity in the biblical way or Justice may be worth giving a try. May be, in legal terms, the rich man doesn’t have an obligation to give the goat for the poor man. I would like to situate not in the plane of obligation or in the plane of sympathy, but somewhere else.
The life of the first Christian community showed that they shared the things in common. We may not achieve that ideal, but an invitation from them to us is to give. This giving is not a simple act of charity (popular meaning of the word) or kindness, but an authentic act of Justice, or of forming a community of brothers and sisters.
From injustice, the law demands a passage to appropriate or just actions. A biblical spirit, invites us for a further leap.. to Justice, to sharing, to form a community.
The rich are not obliged to share… but they are invited to share. Obligation is in the level of morality and ethics and law. Invitation is in the deeper level of Kingdom of God, love, justice and peace.