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Evangelist, Baptist, Husband, Father, Mid-30's.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On Stewardship

In Acts Chapter 4 we see a utopia of Christianity where everyone is taken care of, possessions are sold, and wealth is distributed so that none has need. It all sounds wonderful, until you realize this is a radically disobedient church which is utterly ignoring a direct command from Jesus Christ to GO into the world.

Within days this church is beset by sin and arguing (see chapters 5 and 6). God, in his mercy and reproof, scatters a large number of this church to the nations by only executing a few.

And it all culminates with this utopia becoming a desperately poor blight on Christian stewardship. (See Acts 11:29)

For you see, if you are a blacksmith and your brother is hungry and you sell your anvil to buy him food, then you satisfy an immediate need, but shortly both you and him will be hungry and in need of support. Without an anvil, you are no longer a blacksmith and subsequently you have no source of income. We have no record of the church in Antioch ever entering into the socialist mindset of Jerusalem, and we see that they are the first to send support to the bankrupt church in Judea.

What a fantastic parable it is in Matthew 25:14ff where Jesus leaves his disciples with talents (specifically here: money); two of which do fantastic things with what they are entrusted, one whom fails to do anything and proves to be a very bad steward. Missing from this parable is the servant who either steals the money for himself or donates it to someone else. The response to the one who at the very least was able to return the money was, “'You wicked and slothful servant!” and of whom it was commanded the angels, “Cast that worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Imagine then what the response will be to the one who gave the talent away.

As “Social Justice” (aka, wicked and slothful government) becomes more and more prevalent, let the church realize that there is absolutely no command to sell your field and give it to the poor. God has instead blessed you with an abundance so that you may give out of that abundance.

Use your God-given talents and possessions to minister to your brothers and sisters in need, to care for the widow and the orphan, but do not do so to the point that you yourself become the destitute one in need of help.

Read 2 Corinthians 8-9 and do your best not to become the disobedient church in Jerusalem, but rather be that church in Corinth, Ephesus, Antioch, and Philippi which gives out of abundance to support the work of the ministry in word, deed, truth, and action.

I pray that in this your zeal stirs up many. May you not be worthless.


Anonymous said...

One thing to consider with your assesment of the churches giving is the failure to take into account Paul's commendment of the churches in Macedonia (probably Philippi and Thessalonica) in 2 Cor. 8 who gave out of their extreme poverty not the abundnce they had.

Canyon Shearer said...

You need to go back and read that: they gave according to their means...out of a very meager abundance (more than they needed)...ultimately it points to their trust, knowing that God would provide. See verse 12, Paul says what he means.