32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
He who dies with the most toys wins. Is that the goal?
I heard a story once of a man who lived to amass wealth. It was the driving force of his life. He did purchase a top of the line Cadillac near the end of his days but for the most part he just wanted a fat bank account. Living with him was not easy. They has millions but they lived as if poor. He gave his wife explicit instructions that when he died he was to be buried in his Cadillac and all his cash was to be buried with him. She agreed to honour his wishes. Her family and friends thought she was crazy. He did die and as the Cadillac was being lowered into the massive grave her best friend asked her where she put the money. She whispered back that it was in his pocket. Confused her friend asked how she could possibly have stuffed his millions in his pocket?!? She whispered back that she would explain later. It turns out that she wrote him a cheque and left it in the breast pocket of his suit. She said if he needed the money he could cash the cheque.
Pretty funny story but a pretty sad way that that man spent his life. What did he think he was going to so with his Cadillac and cash? Did he become so self obsessed that he couldn't stand the idea of someone else having his stuff?
We may laugh or judge him and indeed he does represent an extreme. However when you study the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John you discover a culture that cared little for people and lots about cash. For example to help a sick or even dying person on Sabbath was considered work and therefore taboo. However if they had an animal that needed help on Sabbath they would do it every time because the animal's well being was tied to their personal wealth. In other words cash matters more than people. It even matters more than God. Is it any coincidence that cash says "In God we trust" on it?
However these new believers in Jesus have an entirely new value system. People matter more than cash. A lot more. See encountering Jesus changes everything. "When I was hungry you fed Me. When I was lonely you visited Me. When I was sick you helped Me... Whatever you have done for the least of these you have done for Me."
It has been thrilling these last two weeks to see the outpouring of love and support for the people of Ft. McMurray. While some have seen it as opportunity to get on their favourite political or religious soap box, many many others have quietly and happily sent cash and supplies to help them. We don't know them. We don't know their sins or their level of "deserving", we just know they are our fellow man and they need help.
That kind of selfless love began with God. It was lived out in Jesus and it thrives wherever His values thrive.