Sharing Possessions & Respecting Neighbors From A Transformed Heart

Current headlines about tax cuts have triggered timeworn diatribes about what “should” be done. When it comes to money and possessions, people from the political left say, “Share what you have!” And with these words goes the hope that if people won’t share, the government should make them do it. And people from the right say, “Respect my labor and property!” And with these words goes the wish that if work and property rights aren’t respected that the government shouldn’t help them with anything. (And you can imagine the angry, suspicious tones behind loud words.)

So how does the church differ – from both sides of this debate? The Gospel teaches us a third option. Where folks from both the right and left are prepared to wield force against the opposing side, faith in Jesus transforms your heart. Force is not necessary when your heart is so willing. And anger and suspicion dissolve when you’re respectful of dangers and opportunities on both ends of the fiscal spectrum. People can be greedy and often are – ALL of us can. And people can be disrespectful, envious or entitled about blessings that other people have – ALL of us can.

The Gospel is not a story of Jesus congratulating us when we had already been wise, generous and successful. He came to us when we were fools; He gave to us when we were locked in greedy selfishness; and He freely gave to us (lavishly even) when we were abject failures. But force was never necessary because 1) no one could make Jesus do anything (He’s the Almighty God in human form)! And 2) everything He has done for us, He did freely, willingly, under no compulsion whatsoever. He so loved us that He gave…because He wanted to.

If you trust in Jesus as your God and Savior, He doesn’t merely forgive us; He transforms us. Critically, we are a people of changed hearts. We share from the heart, willingly, joyfully even! Romans 6:17 says, “You who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion.” Ephesians 6:6 calls us, “bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Colossians 3:23-24 says: “Whatever you do, [do with all your heart], as for the Lord.”

Things to pray for:

  • Generous hearts. Ask the Lord to grow within you His own heart tendencies, especially in terms of generosity and respect. Ask the Lord to help you share as readily as Jesus does, and to regard others with dignity as thoroughly as He does.
  • Wisdom. Pray that the Father would grant you wisdom in dealing with people and possessions (and in that order – people before possessions)
  • Courage. Ask the Holy Spirit to so anchor you in Christ and His loving provision for you that you would be bold to answer all arguments that are worldly, whether they come from the political right or left.
  • Love for people that outstrips love for stuff. As God’s Word teaches us, (Job 1:21) “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return,” ask the Lord to help you always love Him first, people second, and never love a thing more than you love a person.

Tim Rice
Lead Pastor & Director of Church Planting