Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

January 20, 2008

Why we share our wealth, Part 4

This is the last of the “Why we share our wealth” part of the series, I promise. A few days ago, Amanda and I sat down and wrote down all the Bible verses we could think of that had to do with money and riches. We wrote them on some of the 2,000 different colored envelopes we found in the trash, and planned on posting them around various places in our house to remind us of why we shouldn’t move to a mansion in Belle Meade (a very Mindy Fine thing to do…not moving to Belle Meade, but the scripture cards, haha). I actually just referred to those cards when writing all these blogs…and because of that, I failed to include a very important passage that’s already ON our wall. It’s an example of giving everything until everyone has their needs met, and it was being lived out in a very real way…so much so that there were no needy persons among them. A lot has changed since then, for we now have the opportunity to help those beyond our cities with just the click of a button. But even if we just all started with our own cities and pleaded with other rich brothers and sisters to do the same, we could recreate this scenario:

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 2) “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4)
No one claimed that any possession was his or her own. These radical disciples actually shared everything until there was no one lacking. This is what we truly want to see happening in the world, or at least among people of faith. And, as Gandhi reminds us, we must start with ourselves…”Be the change you want to see in the world.” So that, my friends, is why we share our wealth. May God continually give us the faith, hope and love to do so.

Now for the fine print:
1) Most of what has been discussed and suggested so far has dealt exclusively with sharing money, or giving away possessions with value attached to them. Let it be known that I don’t think that’s enough. After Jesus told the rich ruler to sell everything and give it to the poor, he also said “follow me.” And I think, if we truly follow Jesus, we will be among the poor and oppressed. He wants more than our cash, to quote Derek Webb, he also wants our time and our voice. Charities are great, but they also keep us at a very safe distance from the ones receiving the charity (Shane Claiborne wrote a good bit about this in Irresistible Revolution). Mother Teresa, too, said, “Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them.” We could give away all our excess for an entire lifetime, but never really spend time with the poor, and I believe Christ calls us to do better.
2) When we mention that we share our wealth, we don’t want anyone to believe that we are “saints” in this area. If you didn’t notice in the last post, I suggested that we must give away everything except that which we need to live…until all the poor are cared for. How far should we take that? I’ll let everyone figure that out for themselves. :) For us, we choose to have enough that we can still carry on our professional careers successfully, for one thing. If I lived in a tent with one change of clothes, I could survive….but it would not be healthy for me and Amanda at this point, and I would likely lose my job. So we do have an apartment and more than one pair of shoes. Yes, we do live simply and with less stuff, but we also have a long way to go. That realization doesn’t bog us down with guilt, but encourages us to set goals to work towards. Change is hard and not overnight for everyone. Rewards are not always immediate, either, but we all need to be constantly looking for ways to be more Christ-like in this area.

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5 Comments »

  1. Well said friend, Well said.

    Comment by Ariah Fine — January 20, 2008 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

  2. I just wanted to say that this was an incredible series. God has been speaking to me LOUD and CLEAR about this topic lately. I am reading Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster right now, and I will definitely be anxiously awaiting the rest of the why we try to live simply series!

    Comment by Luke Wilson — January 28, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks, Luke. I think God’s been speaking fairly loud and clear to all of us for years and years in a way…this stuff isn’t some new radical philosophy he’s giving us through new revelation. The way I see it, it’s the same radical call the scriptures have always presented. It’s just that we’re sooo good at ignoring things we don’t want to hear. ;)

    I’m really enjoying Foster’s book too…in fact, it’s so good, I put off the Living Simply blog until I get more of it read.

    Thanks for dropping by. Peace be with you

    Comment by Daniel and Amanda — January 28, 2008 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  4. Dear Daniel and Amanda,
    I have never heard 2 people so young say so well what Jesus taught so clearly!!! You have “pierced my heart with the Sword of the Spirit” and I hope the surgery will help heal me of my lack of benevolent actions. It was one thing for me to say when you were a teenager, “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” Catchy words, but I realize I have not come even close to living by them.
    Well, for a start, I am gathering up some “stuff” to begin selling off. It’s not worth giving to the poor, because the poor needs necessities, not my excess baggage. For now, I have a group of people in mind who need help with food in the Philippines. However, if you know of a more urgent “personal” situation….not simply a “charity”, I’m glad to hear of it.
    Don’t know if this format is proper to ask this, but I have an idea in mind and don’t know how to start finding out if it will work. We have a fairly extensive refugee center in Bowling Green. We have space in our basement, and I was thinking we could use it for living space for them. Another idea is to try to start some kind of homebased business that would give them badly needed jobs as they arrive in the U.S. The one thing I would want to avoid is becoming a “CEO”, (Ha!! Fat chance!), but instead, manage something where the profits are shared equally. I don’t know the legal requirements for this. I wonder if a Christian advisor would help me figure this one out. Also, I am not a business person and don’t know how to decide what products to produce. I realize I could be dreaming, but also know that many home based businesses do well and it is something the refugees could do as they develop English skills to go on to other jobs.
    What do you think? Sorry for the long post, I have just had this one on my mind for quite a while and don’t know who to ask to implement it. If we don’t have exchange students with us next year, it would be the perfect time to get started.
    Thanks for showing Jesus to me more clearly,
    I love you both,
    Mama

    Comment by Carol "Mama" Burt — January 29, 2008 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

  5. It is wonderful that you are doing what you are doing for God. I have a different perspective on things today than I did in the past. Years ago, I took the attitude of giving everything away to those poorer than me and it felt good. However, one day I felt the Lord speaking to me. I would buy second hand stuff all the time and feel guilty if I had new things. I felt the Holy Spirit taking me for a lesson. He showed me beautiful furniture that was being build by employees from many families. The thought came to me, if everyone bought second hand stuff and cheap goods, these people would be out of work. Many of these people give tithes, work honestly, support their families, feed the poor. Why should they not have customers for their goods and why should you not be one. I started looking at a lot of things this way. Thousands of brand new cars sit on lots not being sold while salespeople pray for business. I feel good when I pay my hard earned money for a good quality item knowing that I am helping this business. I also enjoy giving money and energy to helping the poor, but there is balance. Jesus said when the woman poured expensive perfume on his head when the disciples got all caught up over it, the poor will always be with you. I know He was pointing out that He was only with them for a short period but the point is He never got concerned. We need to be working in our society, selling, producing, growing, manufacturing and purchasing goods and services from others who are also working so that we are all able to make profit and give to the poor. Otherwise we will all end up being the poor leaving the greedy ungodly people in charge and I don’t believe this is God’s intention for us. So get to work unto the Lord, providing for your family and buying good quality service and goods from honest hard working families and share with the poor but don’t cut off the honest hard working people as if they are the enemy.Balance and moderation is the key and God decides who gets what. If we get greedy moths and mice will take over and thieves will steal but if we don’t buy the many types of products out there than like I said many people will lose their jobs.
    Also, with many of the poor, we could be giving them more of our time to teach them how to work and earn a living or at least contribute something back instead of just a hand out unless they are not able to work but I know many serving from wheel chairs and enjoying participating in the work forse. I also know many who have little wrong with them physically but continously on wellfare.They need someone to encourage them to join the workforce and get out in the fresh air.

    Comment by clarence — December 9, 2009 @ 9:55 pm | Reply


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