I know that chapters and verses were added to the Bible centuries after it was written and collected, but I fully believe that its organization is as inspired as its words. When Christ is quoted in Luke, first telling us to have no fear because His Father takes pleasure in sharing us with us the Kingdom, and then immediately tells us to sell what we have and give it to the poor, I must believe that these two thoughts are related.
One doesn’t hear much about sacrifice in Evangelical American churches. In my own church, my own denomination, one hears a message on giving two or three times a year… with special emphasis on missions or tithing. Rarely, though, does the message from American pulpits compel us to sacrifice, and it almost never urges us to sell all we have and give the money to the poor.
In Luke, we find Christ relating such self-sacrifice to the Kingdom of God. He tells us that by so doing, we are “laying up treasures in heaven.” In Acts, we find thousands of Christians selling all they have and sharing it with the poor, and we see it related directly to church growth that has rarely been seen again.
After that, such self-sacrifice is seen in church history only rarely, and usually during persecution or grave disasters.
Today, in America, the political pendulum is swinging from the extreme left to the extreme right. A great number of evangelical Christians stand on the right, awaiting its arrival. In its wake, that pendulum will clean up a great many messes that it made in its long journey to the left. Government handouts will end, jobs will return, and the economy will prosper. The poor will realize they are better off standing on their own two feet than being supported by props meant to entrap them.
Yet, like any economy, there will be a few people left behind. These are the truly disabled, the old and feeble, the widowed and orphaned, the disabled veterans, the addicted, the uneducated, and those whose jobs have disappeared and are too old to learn other skills. Sure, a great number of people have been taught to depend on welfare when they should have been taught to work, but a portion of those truly do need our help, and should not be left behind.
Sell everything we have and give the money to the poor? That’s a personal decision, something every one of us must work out with God. Show compassion and generosity to those in need? That is not just our social duty. It is our duty as a citizens of His Kingdom.
Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Luke 12:32-34 NKJV