3 POSITIONS ON POSSESSIONS

WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE.  “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead” (Lk.10:30).  The outlook of a thief:  If I can get it, I will. The robber is not his brother’s keeper; he’s his enemy.  They give abuse and shame. They take honor and peace and virginity. And they manage to muffle guilt and regret.

.WHAT’S MINE IS MINE.  “A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side” (Lk.10:31,32). Why didn’t these religious people stop?  Because they said, “What is mine is mine, my time, my money, my future. It does not belong to you.”  They were religious but not righteous. They heard the commandment to love God, but they didn’t love people. Therefore, they didn’t love God.

These are the capitalists in the world. We are going after things—and more things.  We bow the knee to the god of gold and seek to accumulate. The religious leaders insulated themselves from real need, a terrible deception.  Capitalism ultimately doesn’t work because of human nature. What we possess possesses us, and we embrace a money morality. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Actually, I am my brother’s competitor. That is a three-year old’s philosophy, but it is amazing how many people buy into it, and I do mean “buy”. I am not anti-American.  Given the condition of the human heart, capitalism is a realistic economic system. But the early church existed for a time with an outlook that looked more like communism. One problem of capitalism is that I don’t make a good owner.  I begin to worship possessions. God is the only true owner: “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Ps.24:1).

WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS.  “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’” (Lk.10:33-35).  The Samaritan was responsibility to care for his brother. Why? Because he was a steward, not an owner. A steward manages what belongs to someone else. If the Creator owns it all, we are managers. The issue is not how much we can accumulate but how much we can care for as stewards of God’s riches.

Stewards are not clutching it, they are caring for it.  You know you are a steward if…

  • You get as excited about giving to a mission in China as getting a jacuzzi.
  • You wish you had more money to give away.
  • You see a need and you have a hard time not meeting it.
  • You get an inheritance and think first about whom you are going to help. Part 2 next!

3 comments on “3 POSITIONS ON POSSESSIONS

  1. margrete lindemann says:

    H istory seems always to, repeat itself. lessons learned need to shared

  2. dreck07 says:

    Please be careful with capitalism and communism. I am a capitalist business owner so I can provide jobs and earn money to give away. Contrast this with the early church, which did practice “communism” in the best sense of the word. In Acts 4, their “having everything in common” is described, but a few years later, Paul is taking up collections from his church plants to support the saints in Jerusalem (I Cor 16:1). The church in Jerusalem appears to have run out of money. This could have been caused by persecution, but we also have the example of the Pilgrims. In Bradford’s “On Plymouth Plantation”, we read that the Pilgrims “had everything in common” for the first two years, and the result was that many starved. The third year, they gave up on communism and allotted every family their own plot of land to provide for their own needs. This resulted in a bountiful harvest and the first Thanksgiving.

    Because of human nature, neither capitalism nor communism will ever work well. Capitalism always fails due to greed, and communism always fails due to sloth. The difference is that communism always impoverishes people and capitalism always enriches people. I’d rather live in an economic system that allows me to share rather than one that deprives me of that opportunity.

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