Money and Value ~~ Kenneth L. Samuel
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the Apostle's feet Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is that that Satan has so filled our heart that you lied to he Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?...You have not lied to human beings but to God." when Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. From Acts 5:1-10 NIV
We don't often admit it, but how we spend our money says a lot about what we value in life. Cash transactions and credit card accounts do say something about character Jesus puts it even more directly when he says that wherever our treasurers are, our hearts are there also.
The first-century Christian church valued human life and human equality so much that they established a community of faith where no one was discounted and no one suffered from material lack. They established a commune of equals, where value was placed no upon the accumulation of individual wealth, but upon individual sacrifices and contributions to the common good. They established a collective of compassionate contributors, and from their collective resources they distributed to everyone according to need, not greed.
Human equality. Shared resources. Public compassion. No one left behind. I am my brother's keeper. All for the common good. We are one in the spirit of Christ. The Beloved Community. The realm of god. These were the community values of the first-century Christians. These were the community values that stood as powerful corrective to the institutional inequalities and injustices of the Roman Empire. And these were the values that Ananias and Sapphira violated. They valued material and money over human community, and the paid a price.
PRAYER: Oh God, as we look again to the first-century mothers and fathers of our faith, help us in the twenty-first century to reclaim and renew the work and witness for human community. Amen.