Friday, May 08, 2020

Christianity is all about giving

A community of mutual commitment and kindness should be a community that gives to its members generously and shares its resources happily. One person enjoys largesse at a given moment. He ought to help others who at that same moment are in need. Hence the wealthy Corinthians should give to their poor community members and to the poor in the community at Jerusalem. This is not a law or even a fixed pattern. It’s an interpersonal dynamic that adjusts as circumstances adjust, bearing in mind that the resources to give are ultimately supplied by God. God is fundamentally a giving God who gives of himself and continues to give. Jesus is a gift, freely given and immeasurably enriching. The economy of the Christian community and its handling of money is all about giving, and about this sort of giving.

As usual, it’s so very simple and so very hard.

I imagine that Christian communities through the ages have done what the Corinthians did, generating a hundred and one different reasons to avoid this economy of free, generous giving to all, with the ultimate end of equality. But there is no escape. A Christian economy, for the soundest theological reasons, is redistributive. It is this because it values its members, and their bodies, and so gives, and does so as God has given to us—freely, extravagantly, and without conditions.—Paul: An Apostle’s Journey, 119

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