The End At The Beginning October 17, 2014Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.
My conclusion is that we, as disciples of Christ, are commanded by Christ to lay up treasure in Heaven (yes, He wants us to be rich, but ETERNALLY rich!), and the way to do that is by living frugally, giving lavishly, and NOT accumulating. I want to state this up front so you blog-readers will know in advance where this is going. I believe Roger Hertzler is correct: if you are going to live as a disciple, you cannot accumulate wealth or property.
In Through the Eye of a Needle, Hertzler wrote:
The doctrine of nonaccumulation is not new; it is as old as Christianity itself. However, it is a doctrine that has been lost to most of today’s Christians. The doctrine, simply stated, is this: Jesus forbids His people to accumulate wealth on this earth, but rather commands them to distribute those possessions they do not currently need for the needs of others and for spreading the gospel. In short, Jesus commands us to distribute rather than accumulate earthly wealth.
You cannot “save for a rainy day” that may happen to you tomorrow, when your brother or sister is experiencing that “rainy day” NOW.
“He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord” (Proverbs 19:17) is LITERALLY TRUE. My bottom line is that Christ has commanded us to lay up treasure in Heaven, that He has told us how, and that obedience to His clear command is not a burden; rather, it will bring blessing.
In addition to Bible study and encouragement, I’m adding a few “action steps” that will be both fun and easy.
A word about reward: Jesus told us to lay up treasure in Heaven. The “rate of return” or ROI (“return on investment”) in the kingdom appears to be a “hundredfold.” Most commentators seem to think it’s 100% but I crunched a few numbers and it looks like 500% may be closer. The late C.S. Lovett suggested that one hundred fold is actually more like ten thousand percent.
I don’t know, but we’re dealing with God, and God is lavish. Whatever His rate of return is, it will be more than adequate and it will be ETERNAL.
Today’s action step: Take an amount of money you can give away painlessly; a sum you will never miss. Might be money you forgot you had – turn over those sofa cushions or look under your car seats. Carry it with you and look for a homeless person or other obviously needy person. When you find such a person, connect with him or her as a person, speak to them, and give them the money. Engage in appropriate conversation. Then return to this blog and post a comment on your experience.
This exercise is more for you than for the person you meet. Yes, they need money, but more than that they need to be affirmed as still having value. As you may know, homeless people have become an “issue” or sometimes an ignorable part of the landscape. They are neither: they are men and women made in the image of God. Like the rest of us, some will be saved and most will not. But ALL need love and acceptance … and a little help. We are called to be Christ-like toward them.
If you gave away five bucks in this exercise, imagine having $500 in a heavenly account that can never be lost or stolen. (Note: I don’t believe it’s money – heavenly wealth is a whole lot nicer, as I intend to explore in a future post.)
If you were unwilling to do this simple exercise, you should ask yourself “why?” Perhaps you’re not really convinced that Jesus wants us to sell our stuff and give the money away. Maybe you think it’s “legalism” or that because you give to your church and they have a ministry to the homeless, that you’re covered (“I gave at the office.”). Maybe you think it would be imprudent because the homeless person might spend the money on drugs or alcohol. Maybe you think the doctrine of nonaccumulation is not Biblical, but is a false doctrine??
I appreciate your honesty. Tune in tomorrow.
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