A few days ago the electrical system in my car went up in smoke. So there I sat in the Taco Bell parking lot, almost numb. Have you ever gotten to the end of your rope?
Luckily, Aimee was there too and had our other car. We drove home, both of us perplexed. What do we do now? After a little discussion, we decided to take the matter to our families. Families is plural in this instance because the email I sent asking for help included both our church and biological families (and gratefully, our biological family is part of the Body of Christ, too).
Here's what happened. Within two hours, I had a loaner car, an offer of a permanent car, and an offer to cover the expenses for both the tow charges and parts. Within 48 hours, someone in my family (a mechanic) repaired the electrical system. I'm now back on the road, like nothing ever happened. Incredible.
Excerpted from Luke's account of the post-Pentecost church, the Acts of the Apostles
"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" (4:32-35).
For as long as people have been alive, there have been opinions on how people should govern themselves. While some countries, like the U.S., promote democracy, others advance alternate forms of government: theocracies, aristocracies, communism, and so on.
The purpose of this particular reflection isn't so much to advocate one form of government over another, but to simply point out that some governments only work when they're voluntary. While forced communism doesn't work, voluntary communism can; that is, when it's empowered by the Spirit.
When I used to stand up in front of a crowd as senior pastor, I often asked myself, Which of these people would sell their house for me? (...and not because I was "pastor," but because we shared a common bond as followers of Christ.) Furthering my reflection, I'd ask, Are the majority of these people house-sellers? Are they of one heart and one mind? How do they view their possessions? As their own? Or as each others'?
Here's what I know. It's difficult to give sacrificially to people you don't know all that well. That concept, by the way, is one of the big reasons I initially took to the organic church movement; by definition, the church is the presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet (for more on this definition, see Neil Cole's book, Organic Church).
I'll leave you with this. Do you view your possessions as your own? Is your bank account your bank account? Are you aware of how your brother and sister in Christ are doing financially and is their situation your situation?