Jesus told a parable about three men who were each entrusted with an enormous amount of someone else’s money: two-hundred times the average annual wage, one-hundred times the average annual wage, and twenty times the average annual wage. The man entrusted with two-hundred times the annual average wage speculated, doubling the amount, and for this he was richly rewarded. The man entrusted with one-hundred times the annual average wage also speculated, also doubling the amount, and for this he also was richly rewarded. The man entrusted with twenty times the annual average wage buried the treasure in the ground, where it would be safe: and on presenting his master with his original capital investment, was punished for not having even placed the money with the bank, to earn a small amount of interest.
Would Jesus protest the London Stock Exchange, and, if so, what exactly would he protest about?
Firstly, he would not protest against the activity of the Stock Exchange, the high-risk high-reward approach to putting other people’s money to work and taking a significant share of the potential reward.
Rather, his protest would be on the grounds that the speculators and those whose money they invest fail to acknowledge that all that they have to speculate with comes from God, and that we will be held accountable by God for what we have done with his investment.
As a nation, we are among the wealthiest people on earth: if your annual salary is £25,000 you are in the top 1% richest people in the world. And yet we have chosen to live beyond our means, running up an unbearable debt burden while failing to address global inequality, beyond the level of engagement necessary to salve our conscience.
Those things Jesus would protest the London Stock Exchange over, he would protest the Occupy London protesters over too. We are all in this together.
Everyone wants to co-opt Jesus for their cause; Jesus wants to co-opt everyone for his cause.