We often talk about the "western church". We are not talking about the church that John Wayne attended. We are talking about the body of Christ that exists in the western part of the world today. We are generally contrasting that to what we call a book of Acts church which is the body of believers right after Jesus was raised from the dead. It seems to be a healthy goal to try and pattern ourselves after this first century church in their passion and commitment to Christ.
One of the most difficult areas to live that out is what they did with money. And what they didn't do with money. They didn't view it as theirs but God's that had been entrusted to them for a season. Acts 2 tells us that they not only gave of their income but sold assets and gave those as well. They were transparent and honest about what they had and what they gave. Some even died for lying about what they were doing with their money.
The stewardship of money may be the biggest stumbling block for Christians in the US. Jesus didn't tell everyone to give all their wealth away but he did single one wealthy person out and effectively say, I love you too much to not tell you that for you, the only way to eternal life is to unload it all. That is radical. If Jesus were to say that same thing to someone today I wonder if it might be someone living in the wealthiest country in the history of the world. I wrestle with the influence of my surroundings that pushes me to pursue a life seeking ease, comfort, leisure, and convenience. God has recently impressed upon me that I will indeed have those things in abundance...........in heaven. But while I am on earth he wants me to look more like those in the book of Acts.
So, may we Christians be characterized as a people of radical obedience to Christ. And may that include what we do and don't do with money. Join me in a deeper dialogue about what that means in our context today.