By Clint Twedt-Ball, Founder & Executive Director
From Autumn 2022 Newsletter
I love the smells that hit me when I walk into work on Monday mornings. Even though Groundswell Cafe is closed on Mondays, I can smell fresh-baked cinnamon and pecan rolls, kolaches, cookies and more. A team of life-long bakers is here every Monday morning, volunteering to make baked goods for the cafe.
Virtually every day at Matthew 25, people are bringing what they have to share with others. At the Cultivate Hope Corner Store, there are donations of eggs from backyard chickens and fresh produce from gardens. People bring a huge variety of tools to the tool library so that everyone can access them. Volunteers work at the cafe, urban farm, corner store, tool library and in the office. One of the reasons Matthew 25 is able to accomplish so much good is because we are supported by a generous group of sharing people.
Recently, we updated our vision to be: Thriving, connected communities with sharing economies, where all people are valued, talents are multiplied, and neighbors live healthy, nourished lives full of opportunity. The Matthew 25 Board was very intentional in adding the sharing economies phrase. So, what is a sharing economy?
We often hear the phrase in relation to shared houses through AirBnB or ride sharing through companies like Uber and Lyft. All kinds of goods are now being shared with ease through technology. Some people even have incomes that are totally derived from the sharing economy.
Matthew 25 views the sharing economy as connecting our work to the ancient concept found in scripture in Acts, chapter 2, beginning with verse 44. The text talks about people sharing food and other possessions so that everyone has enough. This is in keeping with Jesus’ mandate found in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the least and the lost. Jesus was talking about the sharing economy we get to experience every day here at Matthew 25.
Our vision is to help create a system where this sharing happens in a seamless way, where people can see up close how their generosity supports others. It’s a pretty cool thing to tip at Groundswell or the Corner Store and know that money is being used to feed people who are hungry. It’s nice to know I can downsize my tools, give them to the tool library, and have them be used by someone who can’t afford to purchase their own. Or to know I can share my building skills to help someone else have a livable house.
The next level of sharing beyond the transaction of giving and receiving things is to share stories and unite hearts. We want to create places where those who are sharing and those who are receiving can hear one another’s stories and begin to understand each other’s perspectives. It’s so easy to be judgmental of others until we hear their perspective. Once we have a sense of what others are experiencing, our world view begins to change.
Even though Matthew 25 is sixteen years old, it feels like we’re just at the beginning of creating a sharing economy. So much has gotten us to where we are, but perhaps the best is yet to come. Let me know if you want to talk more about why a sharing economy is important to you.