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These studies examine the traditional doctrines held by the Church of Christ to see if they are actually taught in the scriptures. This is not an "anti-Church of Christ" site. I was reared in the Church of Christ and have preached in the Church of Christ since 1968. My desire is that we walk righteously before God, not according to traditions of men. Bernie Parsons
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Distribution Of Wealth
By Bernie Parsons - February 04, 2002
In the "Church of Christ", we speak often of how to take up the church monetary collections, and how they can be used. There are schools of thought resulting in schisms over these very topics. These divisions come from following the ideas of men. Many seek to improve upon the concepts set forth in scripture, thinking that the Bible is outdated, and that we can invent a "better way". After studying both Old and New Testament teachings on the subjects of giving and distribution, I find a pattern unlike that to which we are accustomed in the Church of Christ.
Let me begin by clarifying that I am not a political fascist, socialist, communist, nor capitalist. Fascists believe in a strong central government that controls all generators of wealth, such as production and distribution. Socialists believe in taking control of all production and distribution, and supposedly putting it under the control of society at large, or the community. Communists believe that the community should should own everything and everyone should work the same, and all should receive the same. These theoretical models are always corrupted by those who wield power, whether they be despots or bureaucrats. Instead of dividing the wealth among all, the corrupt leaders tend to siphon off the riches, leaving the whole population devastated by poverty.
Capitalists believe that whoever can get and control the money, more power to them--literally! The problem with capitalism is that the rich tend to get richer while the poor get poorer. The poor struggle to survive while the rich play with whatever their money can buy. This furrows the fields of discontentment, readying them for the seeds of socialism and communism.
I believe in Christianity, wherein God blesses some with more wealth than others, then charges the wealthy with the responsibility of voluntarily distributing wealth to those in poverty and in need. In other words, the wealthy are to give generously to lighten the burdens of the poor. This is not coerced, but derives from Christian charity (read "That Which Is Perfect").
The failure of the finances of the early church of Christ when it tried to hold all things common, then distribute to each person as needs arose, led the apostle Paul to steer the church in a different direction. (Read "Collection For The Saints".) Selling everything that each church member owned, then distributing from that common pool as every person had need, soon depleted all the local resources, leaving the Christians in poverty. It is thought by some that the early church was following some commandment of Jesus, such as is given in:
Luke 18:18-25 "And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
"Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
Compare that to what the early Christians did in Jerusalem.
Acts 2:44-47 "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Acts 4:32-5:4 "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
"And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God."
It would at first glance seem that Christ was demanding that all his disciples sell all their worldly possessions in order to achieve eternal life. A deeper investigation reveals that this is not at all what was being promoted by our Lord.
Luke 8:1-3 "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."
The material needs of Jesus, the Apostles, and other traveling companions in their entourage were being met by more wealthy individuals, as the above scriptures indicate. Did Jesus command all His followers to divest themselves of their wealth?
Notice what Jesus said immediately after His remarks to the rich young man, as is recorded in Luke 18:
Luke 18:26-27 "And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."
Mark, writing about this same event, perhaps sheds more light upon the meaning.
Mark 10:24-30 "And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
"And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
"And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."
Notice several important points about this conversation:
(1) Jesus said it was possible for a rich person to enter heaven, because all things are possible with God.
(2) The rich, young man went away sorrowful, not because he had wealth, but because he loved his riches, and was unwilling to distribute them to the poor!
(3) The disciples who had abandoned all for the Lord's sake, and the preaching of the gospel, would receive "now in this time" a hundred times more than they had given up!
How can this be? Look at the rest of the statement--not only would they receive land and houses, but also brothers, sisters, mothers, and children. In other words, those who had wealth would share with those who had not, the ages-old principle of sharing that was handed down by God Almighty. God has always called for a distribution of wealth among His people.
Judas criticized the repentant lady who bathed the feet of Jesus in expensive perfume.
John 12:3-8 "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
"Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
"Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always."
From this account come more truths:
(1) Jesus and the apostles carried a money bag from which they distributed to the poor.
(2) The poor will always be around.
(3) It is not necessary to spend every penny that one possesses on the poor.
This leads some of my brothers and sisters to say that, since the poor will be with us always, we should enjoy life and pretty much ignore their plight. "After all", they say, "if they would just work hard like I do, they would not be poor". The person who says such is not a righteous spirit, merely exhibiting their ignorance of the word and the will of God.
The above quotation by Jesus seems to be a rendering of Deuteronomy 15:11 "For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."
Rather than stating that one should not be concerned about the poor, the original quotation says exactly the opposite.
Exodus 23:11 "But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard."
Leviticus 19:9-10 "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 23:22 "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God."
Job 29:11-14 "When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem."
Psalms 12:5-6 "For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."
Proverbs 14:31 "He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor."
Proverbs 19:17 "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again."
Proverbs 21:13 "Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard."
Proverbs 22:9 "He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor."
Proverbs 28:27 "He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse."
Proverbs 31:9 "Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy."
Zechariah 7:9-12 "Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts."
The righteous and wise men of old understood how God felt about assisting the poor and the needy, the widows and the orphans, and even the strangers among them. Those who failed to listen to God, who set their hearts against His great will, were brought low. Let us also understand our obligations toward the poor.
In order to help the poor, we first must build wealth. This is not to be done out of the love of money, for that is an evil and destructive force.
1 Timothy 6:8-11 "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
Matthew 6:19-24 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Ecclesiastes 5:8-10 "If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity."
Deuteronomy 8:11-18 "Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
"And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
"But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day."
Remember that everything belongs to God, and any wealth that He gives us places us in a position of stewardship. What we do with His gifts is important.
Psalms 24:1 "The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
1 Corinthians 10:26 "For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof."
1 Corinthians 3:21-23 "Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your's; [Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your's; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."
James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
The difficulty in wealth is remembering that it belongs to God, and if it is in our hands, it is because God put it there. Our next thought should be, "Why?" Well, the obvious answer is to enjoy--but it is not merely for consumption upon our own personal lusts, but to meet the needs of others. In other words, it is given to us that all may enjoy the riches and the grace of God!
1 Timothy 6:17-19 "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
James 4:1-3 "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
The building of wealth is to show the goodness of God toward us, and toward others. When God's people are wealthy, and give God the praise, God's name is blessed.
Deuteronomy 15:2-5 "And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD's release. Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release;
"Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it:
"Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day."
There is no doubt that the Lord blesses His people. What is done with those blessings is important to God, therefore it is important to us. If we ignore this importance, we can lose our souls. Wealth is not solely to be desired for one's own consumption, but rather for the relief of the suffering of others.
Leviticus 25:35-37 "And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase."
1 Peter 4:8-11 "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Our giving is not for selfish reasons, but rather because giving is inherently right. God gives to us, so we give to one another. It is more blessed to give than to receive. In this we see perhaps the most important attribute of God--His giving heart.
1 Corinthians 10:24 "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth."
Acts 20:35 "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Matthew 5:42 "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."
Matthew 10:8 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
When Jesus condemned the laying up of earthly treasure, He was referring to a love of money, and the dependence upon wealth that afflicts the wealthy.
Luke 12:21-34 "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
"Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
"For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Taken in context, Jesus is saying that our heart is to be on God, not on earthly riches. Our heart will be where our treasure is stored. We are not to worry about necessities of life, for God will provide. Yet we know we must work to provide for ourselves and others.
Proverbs 6:6-11 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man."
Proverbs 24:30-34 "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."
Besides socialism, communism, and capitalism, there is another lifestyle that is not an "-ism"--a lifestyle ordained by God, one that truly works. It is called Christianity. The Christian is to work, not only for himself and his close family, but also for those who are in need.
1 Timothy 5:8 "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
1 Timothy 5:4 "But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God."
2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."
Ephesians 4:28 "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."
We see from the scriptures that we are to build wealth, not for personal consumption or vanity that accompanies riches, but to use that wealth to alleviate suffering and to take away dread and fear. Who would be afraid of losing their job if they knew their Christian family would see to their needs? Who would worry about how to pay for a trip to the doctor's office if the brotherhood is there to pay the way? You see how a greater freedom and peace is available when we practice Christianity as it was intended!
Acts 9: 36-39 "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them."
I Timothy 5:3-14 "Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully."
These are some of the fruits of righteousness--that we address the needs of the needy. If we truly love one another, the display of that love signals the goodness of God to the world around us.
John 13:35 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
James 2:13-18 "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."
God has always stressed the His people's obligation to help the less blessed, such as the widows, orphans, and the needy strangers. He has declared that the righteous will look to their needs. James echoes this truth in the book of James:
James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
Galatians 6:2-10 " Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of
Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth
himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself
alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.
Philippians 4:15 "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only."
I Timothy 6:17-19 "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
We can follow the example (not commandment--read "Collection For The Saints") that is found in I Corinthians 16 to put aside a portion of our income each first day of the week. The local congregation can apply that money to relieve the needs of its own people. Houses, automobiles, appliances, and major house and vehicle repairs can be paid off, avoiding the high-interest that is paid when borrowing money. The money that would have gone for payments, and for interest, could be redeposited by the members into the collection. Instead of paying out a fortune in interest to banks, credit-card companies, and other lending institutions, we could invest that fortune in the body of Christ. The local church's wealth would rapidly increase, providing funds to reach out to others in the community who have needs, and can also provide a source to pay for the preaching of the gospel (read "Paying The Preacher").
If we truly understand the charity (read "That Which Is
Perfect") that God has toward us, and that we are to have toward our fellow man,
then we also understand the church's responsibilities toward our fellow man when it comes
to distribution of wealth. If we would truly "look on the things of
others"--that is, their well-being, their welfare--the church would be debt-free, the
members would have a better life, and the world would take note! The result would be
an attractive life-style to those on the outside, and the financial means to take the
gospel into all the world, and peace of mind for the church membership.