“All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.” vss. 44-45
We who have long worshipped at the altar of capitalism are befuddled by this description of life among the early Christians. To us it sounds like communism, or some primitive form of socialism, and it seems antithetical to our way of life. We’ve been taught from kindergarten that accumulation is the way to happiness and that success is measured by the size of our estate. It’s a real jolt to learn that those who knew Jesus personally and who tried to live by his standards believed in radical sharing. In those days folks couldn’t even join the community unless they first of all sold all their possessions and put the proceeds in a common purse. If that were the requirement now we wouldn’t have to worry about crowded pews on Sunday morning. There would be no one there! In the whole world there are only a few scattered communities that hold all things in common. It’s an economic system that really hasn’t worked for large populations. But there are problems with capitalism too. It breeds selfishness and provides fertile ground for idolatries of the worst kind. So many are led astray by its false promises and emphasis on wealth. The truth is that we are not owners but stewards in this world…and God measures our success by our generous sharing and not by self-centered profiteering.
Thought for the Day: Why is socialism a dirty word for so many?