Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK SIXTEEN
ORBIT – DAY SEVENTY-SIX
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the daily Christian reflection from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Remember you can listen to these on Spotify, as well as reading and listening to them on the St Mary’s Reigate website.
BIBLE READING – 2 Corinthians 8: 7 & 13-15
Today’s reading is in two parts. v7:
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
And verses 13 to 15:
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.”
Money is hard. In fact, it’s fair to say that there are few subjects which feel so awkward and complicated to even address. We live in a culture which is obsessed with it, and in a world where the distribution of it is terribly unbalanced. It sustains the lifestyles that we enjoy, and promises those which we aspire to. Some of us have it, some of us don’t – and in both groups the majority are certain that they need much more.
There are also very few subjects that are addressed more often in the Bible than money. Jesus talks about it a lot, and Paul frequently refers to it in the context we find here – giving and generosity. Yet apart from asking for it to sustain our various activities, the church isn’t historically very good at talking about money. And here’s why: the model that we see in the early church with regard to money is so radically different to what we practise today, that we would almost deem it offensive. It offers an incredibly hard challenge to the modern church.
Christians today are quite good at being generous, in the sense that they look at their considerable wealth, and cut off a small portion to give away. That however, is not what the early church did. In Acts chapter 2 and 4, we see that the church didn’t really believe in personal property – they shared everything and held it in common, like one gigantic family. If someone was going hungry, someone else sold a field and used the money to feed their friend. To give that a modern example, that would be like my fellow Christian being unable to repay a bank loan, and me selling my car so that I could pay off for him. If I did that today, I would be held up as the most generous person in the community – for the early church, this was just daily life.
This is hard teaching! And perhaps that’s why, in the first part of today’s reading, Paul seems to list generosity as the pinnacle of Christian character. “Since you excel in everything… see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” Yet Paul is serious about it – and there is a whole economic system going on behind the scenes. The goal, he says, is not that you help others and therefore end up short of cash – but that there is equality. No rich and poor in the church; only equality.
I don’t think you will have heard this very often, which is weird given that it is far more black-and-white than many other teachings which Christians hold fast to. “The goal is equality” might offend our political beliefs, but it couldn’t be much clearer.
Money isn’t the root of all evil – that’s a misquote. But “the love of money is a root of every kind of evil.” Many of the terrible injustices we see in the world today are all rooted in our inability to hold money lightly. That’s why we have near-trillionaires, and also billions of people in poverty. The Bible stands against this – Christianity stands against this.
So, how do we begin to make a difference? As always, the change starts with us, and as is so often the case, big changes don’t happen until we make small ones. As we seek to live truly radical, kingdom lives, we need to ask God regularly for the strength to practice and grow in generosity, and begin to get just a little closer to the Bible’s clear teaching on money.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Father God, I pray that you would help me to handle money well. Help me not to get knotted up by the seductive power of money and material wealth; instead teach me to live generously and aspire to true equality. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Give some money away today. You can give as little or as much away as you want; the only rule is that you should think and pray carefully about what you are giving it to. Is there a friend in need who could really do with an anonymous gift? Is there a collection box that you keep walking past, or a friend you keep meaning to sponsor? Ask for God’s help as you give, that he would give you a sense of his kingdom growing just a little bit more through your generous act.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!