The Global Reset Button

John D. Barry

When I was a kid, I loved playing Super Nintendo—especially Donkey Kong. Despite my love for it, it would just make me angry at times. When I couldn’t handle the way the game was panning out, I would slam down the controller and hit the reset button. I would start fresh. It’s more than a little sad that my entertainment made me act like a caveman. Yet those moments of resetting the entire system felt like another chance at life (albeit a virtual one).

With the state of the global economy, it often feels like the world needs a reset. It’s tempting to say something as radical as, “Let’s forgive all debts and start again.” Though this couldn’t happen—and it would be highly problematic since the statement depends on good will, free economy, and general care for one another—it doesn’t stop us from hoping.

God actually created a system for this audacious idea: in the Year of Jubilee, or the Sabbatical Year, slaves were freed and debts were forgiven (Deut 15), people were celebrated as equals (Deut 16), and the land was given a rest to prevent famine. (Famine was often caused by overworking the land.) It was a reset button.

The global economy is complex. I’m not suggesting that it’s time for a Year of Jubilee, but maybe it is time for an economic evaluation of our lives. Who is God calling you to forgive? Whose life could be better if you lifted their debts? Who needs your generosity right now? Who could you make an equal by changing something about your work or friendship? How can you celebrate with those who feel like lesser people in this world?

The economy proves the point that we are all interdependent. It also makes the case that doing something for those at the bottom of the economic ladder can have a massive impact—not just on them, but on others. Those that are forgiven are likely to forgive.

Whose life can you make better today? Who can you bring jubilee (celebration) to?