The challenge is to show the world that we are hoping in and counting on something different from what they are counting on and hoping in. We can’t do that if we are not radical. If we are not radical we are normal. If we are normal we are like everyone else. If we are like everyone else we are not hoping in or counting on anything special. And if we are not hoping in or counting on anything special we don’t know Jesus.
Jesus is radical. Jesus said to sell all that you have and give it to the poor. Jesus said if anyone asks from you, you need to give. Jesus said your possessions don’t matter. Jesus knows what he’s talking about.
Christians are not radical. Christians say get a decent savings account and buy big things on credit. Christians say never give to beggars because if they can’t get a job they’re either lazy or junkies. Christians think possessions are the most important things in the world. Christians are dummies.
There is nothing wrong with you going to the bank, withdrawing $400 and giving it to a charity, a less-well-off family or a bum on the street. Nothing. Do you think the poor in Jesus’ day were more responsible than they are today? Not likely. And he suggested selling everything.
But, of course, we can’t do that. Something has changed since then. I’m not sure what. I don’t know why Jesus’ advice is no longer sound, but I know it just can’t work anymore. Maybe because people were more financially stable back then. Maybe because Jesus cared more back then. Maybe because poor people deserved it more back then.
I was once told that I shouldn’t give money to poor people because they don’t deserve it. I am so glad no one told Jesus that when he was giving his life for me, because I certainly don’t deserve it. Do you?
If we don’t give radically, people will assume (rightly) that we rely on the same things they do.