Sharing All Things in Common

 

 

Although there is an abundant defense of private property and capitalism among professing Christians, we must make ourselves fully aware of just how much these so called “christians” have been conditioned throughout the centuries to regard private property and the accumulation of wealth as part of the divine order of God. NOTHING could be further from the truth! In this article I will attempt to dismantle this horrible addiction to possessions that is first and foremost utterly forbid by none other than Jesus Christ himself.

Let’s take a look at Jesus’ own life and example during his earthly ministry. After all, He is the one we should be getting our cues from when it comes to dare calling ourselves a “Christian.”

Jesus was homeless, let’s just get that straight from the very start.

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58)

In fact, Jesus was even born homeless!

…and she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  (Luke 2:7)

Hard to imagine, you might be thinking to yourself. Why on earth would God allow His most dearly beloved son to live such a life of poverty? We would suggest that it was simply a matter of God trying to show His deep love and concern for the poor, the downtrodden, the outcasts, the ones who suffer daily as a direct result of those who seek to enhance their personal wealth at the very expense of these same people.

Next, let’s look at a particular verse that is most often ignored by 99.99% of professing Christians as it relates to ownership of private property:

“So then, none of you can be My disciple (i.e. a Christian) who does not give up all his own possessions.  (Luke 14:33)

WHAT?! Did he actually say that? Yep, he most certainly did. Look it up for yourself. Not only did he say this, he said it to a multitude of people who were interested in following him. We cannot escape this far reaching command, no matter how much we may try to find ways to avoid it or water it down to suit our tastes. If you are not interested in Christ or his teachings, then by all means, ignore it. On the other hand, if you dare call yourself a Christian, you are definitely responsible for taking this command as it was intended by Christ himself…ignore it at your own peril. Just consider the fact that if YOU are unwilling to follow Jesus’ teachings yourself, you have absolutely no right whatsoever to condemn “unbelievers” for doing the same. They at least have an excuse, whereas you don’t.

Now, let us take a brief look at the early church and its teachings on the subject of possessions and private property. Be prepared for some shocking truth!

In the book of Acts, we find the first church establishing itself in Jerusalem. It would seem unmistakable that these first followers of Christ took his teachings about possessions very seriously. All we have to do is list a number of references from the book of Acts to get a clear picture of how they chose to live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. Here they are:

And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. (Acts 2:44-45)

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32)

Then those who gladly[] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them (Acts: 2:41)

 

 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. (Acts 4:4)

 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women (Acts 5:14)

Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)

Now, if the first church began selling all their possessions and sharing all things in common, and the numbers of disciples/believers were greatly increasing, imagine all the relative “wealth” they would have held in common. People with lands, houses, and a number of other possessions were joining this growing body and relinquishing private ownership. The concern voiced by so many opponents of this example and life of the early church is based entirely on the fear of being destitute, living in abject poverty. Yet we see nothing of the sort happening here!

…For there was not a needy person among them… (Acts 4:34)

As a matter of fact, Jesus tells us to expect quite the opposite, when we are willing to let go of all we cling so tightly to in this life in our vain attempts at reaching for supposed material security:

Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,  but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.… (Mark 10:29-30)

It would seem pretty clear that although Jesus commands us to divest ourselves of our own personal property/possessions, he has absolutely NO issue with his followers sharing all of these things together, communally. After all, sharing is the exact opposite of greed.

I would say, in conclusion, that the number one cause for those supposed Christians who would denounce any attempts at living communally, as a family of brothers and sisters in Christ is none other than GREED. While so many seek to dismiss the early Christians practices of sharing all things in common, let it not be said that it can be based on the teachings of Jesus or his first committed followers.

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth (1 John 3:17-18)

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About livewithoutlovingmoney

Welcome to the intersection of economics & and love! We are Christians who are disgusted with the money system worship of the Churches. We call it "Churchianity" and nothing could be further from what Jesus Christ taught than what is commonly preached in most churches around the world. His profoundly revolutionary and unrivaled teachings about love, if practiced, open our eyes to the matrix of greed that he came to free us from. Read more to discover the message that centuries of church dogma & doctrine have attempted to hide from you.
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2 Responses to Sharing All Things in Common

  1. Hélène says:

    Can not one give up one’s things, or even family, in a metaphorical sense?
    I gave my children over to their Maker long ago. They are His, yet I still parent them; feed and house and raise them. I can also give over my property and ask, Lord what do I with these things You have allowed me? But I don’t trash them or donate them all.
    I don’t think the Believers continued living communally. The Pilgrims tried it also and it did not work. I myself think communal living has many benefits but it’s hard to live under your own tree in peace, while living communally. I would love to live comuunally in fact but with our own space too, to function as a discrete family unit within the community of Believers. Co-housing seems a great concept, but we don’t need our own homes, just a bdrm and sitting room for private brkfsts and family time. And to homeschool our children. Sharing gardens, husbandry and dining, etc would be great and allow for daily outreach and deathmill rescues by rotating groups or persons.
    …for those not living directly on the road in ministry.

    Like

    • Hi Helene, thanks for writing!

      You ask: Can not one give up one’s things, or even family, in a metaphorical sense?

      The thing about taking Jesus’ actual commands in a metaphorical sense is that it is hard to reconcile with the fact that He meant us to take Him very seriously (literally) in some of these specific teachings/commands. Let’s look real close at one example of Jesus speaking to a very large crowd, found in Luke 14:33. I’ll paste several different translations of this verse so we can make sure we’re not reading something literal into something He might have met in a metaphorical sense:

      New International Version
      In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

      New Living Translation
      So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

      English Standard Version
      So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

      Berean Study Bible
      In the same way, any one of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.

      Berean Literal Bible
      So therefore every one of you who does not give up all that he himself possesses, is not able to be My disciple.

      New American Standard Bible
      “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

      King James Bible
      So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

      Holman Christian Standard Bible
      In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.

      International Standard Version
      In the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.”

      So…what are we to make of that direct command, to a multitude who was following Him? Compare this with Peter’s statement in Matthew 19:27:
      (I’ll again paste several versions of Peter’s confession)

      New International Version
      Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

      New Living Translation
      Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”

      English Standard Version
      Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”

      Berean Study Bible
      “Look,” Peter replied, “we have left everything to follow You. What then will be for us?”

      Berean Literal Bible
      Then Peter answering said to Him, “Behold, we left all things and followed You; what then will be to us?”

      New American Standard Bible
      Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?”

      And again we have Jesus making things very clear here, in Matthew 19:29:

      New International Version
      And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

      New Living Translation
      And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.

      English Standard Version
      And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

      Berean Study Bible
      And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for the sake of My name will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

      Berean Literal Bible
      And everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for the sake of My name, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.

      New American Standard Bible
      “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.

      As you can see from just these few verses, we really have to wrestle with whether or not we are willing to let go of everything to find eternal life through Jesus.

      You wrote: I gave my children over to their Maker long ago. They are His, yet I still parent them; feed and house and raise them.
      IS it ok if I ask how old your children are now? If they are young (under 18) and dependent on you still, then this presents a challenge, but this is all the more reason to live communally, with other Christians seeking to lose their lives for the sake of the gospel. There are a number of communities, including ones I have lived with, where the children were home schooled and they thrived in a community setting. Of course, once they come of age, and are no longer your dependents, they are free to choose what type of path they wish to follow, whether that means staying with you as a part of a christian community or deciding to leave.

      You wrote: I can also give over my property and ask, Lord what do I with these things You have allowed me? But I don’t trash them or donate them all. It’s pretty clear that Jesus never commanded His disciples to “trash” or “donate” their possessions. In fact, He commanded those who would follow Him to actually SELL their possessions:

      “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. 33″Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34″For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

      (Luke 12:32-34)

      Bear in mind that He is speaking to His followers in this passage. People often present the case that Jesus also told the “rich young ruler” to sell all that He had, which He did do, of course, assuming this lets them off the hook.

      You wrote: I don’t think the Believers continued living communally. The Pilgrims tried it also and it did not work.
      Well, let’s look at the first church, in Acts 2 and 4.

      And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.…

      (Acts 2:44-45)

      All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

      (Acts 4:32)

      Also, if you look at the letters of Paul, you’ll find that he addresses the church in “such and such” city. The church in Corinth; the church in Galatia; the church in Rome; etc. The churches in each of these cities were a body of believers who we have no reason to doubt continued to follow the pattern set by Jesus and His disciples and in the first church in Jerusalem. (There are also a number of extra biblical sources from the first and second century churches who also believed in the practice of sharing all things in common). The “church” since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine has fallen so far away from what it was meant to be. Just because the church became a hollow shell of what the first 2 centuries of christians lived and taught, does not mean we should follow in the footsteps of the later generations of so called christians.

      It’s very good that you are actually open to living communally with other followers of Jesus. Praise God! So many professing christians just want to carve out their own little castles with just their little family, and meet once a week in a building they wrongly call “church.”

      Jesus has called us to a new life, absolutely unlike anything this world has to offer. He calls us to truly live like a family, as brothers and sisters. If christians aren’t able to live together, sharing all things in common, how are we really any different from the rest of the world? The first 2 centuries of the christian church grew exponentially, as the world could see that they really believed in love, in the most practical ways. The world is growing colder towards God and Jesus, and it has so much to do with our witness as christians.

      We would encourage you to pray desperately that your faith would increase in order to follow Jesus and be a light in a dark world. We’ll also be praying for you

      Like

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