Economic Life

Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All conveys ELCA teaching that economic activity is a means through which God's will is served for the well-being of humankind and the care of the earth. It recognizes that even though sin distorts human activity, we are called to practice economic activity justly and with special concern for those who live in poverty.

In this work, the church is guided by the biblically grounded imperative to seek sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all. This summary phrase points to the loving scope of God's concern (for all), the affirmation of just means by which life is sustained (livelihood), the importance of providing enough for everyone of what is needed (sufficiency), and the long-term character of this necessary work (sustainability). The statement recognizes that these criteria may be in tension with one another, but together they provide a sound framework for discernment and action. Toward that purpose, the statement discusses commerce, law, vocation, public policy, work, human dignity, agriculture, business and efforts to empower those who live in poverty. This statement was adopted by the 1999 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

Follow these links to find resources for understanding this social statement: