Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” (2 Cor 8:13-15 TNIV)<idle musing>
Sure sounds like the classic definition of socialism to me: "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Granted, that is impossible among the unredeemed; everyone is told to grab for everything they can in this life. But, shouldn't it be the goal among the redeemed?
Unfortunately, I don't even see it being attempted in most of the U.S. church. Sermons are preached about the evils of socialism; people are encouraged to follow the American Dream. Precious few sermons are preached on self-denial or death to self. Significant chapters of scripture are conveniently ignored.
The early church was known for its giving—and not just to believers! I suspect the American church of the late twentieth to early twenty-first centuries will be known for its selfishness and lack of generosity... Just an