In this third and final blog post of my Jesus Church series, I’d like to talk about money. Twice, John points out that the ‘Jesus Church’ had a central fund that Judas was responsible for (John 12:6, John 13:29). The income that the church received, probably from donations (Luke 8:3), seems to have been pooled, and the surplus given to the poor.
I’ve never made a cake, but this is what I think you’d need:
A good kitchen with a decent table. An oven. The ingredients. Time and no distractions. A mixing bowl and the various bits of pans and stuff to make it. (I’ve really never made one).
If you were, for example, in a warehouse, with the oven on one side of the warehouse, the table on the other side, half the ingredients missing, no mixing bowl, forklifts driving by you, and only three minutes to make it in, then the forklift drives over the pan and squashes it, you would, I think, find it very difficult to make a cake.
I was 22 or 23 when I was first asked to move to another community house in 1998. When I moved in there were only five of us living there and it was up to me to make things happen. I wasn’t an evangelist particularly, but I was stirred by a desire to love people and share Jesus with people. In those days, we took a few risks, there were lots of good things that happened but also loads of mistakes. I was learning wisdom, learning to love and win people into the church.
As Christians we are called to be holy (as God is holy), but we also know that we can never match up to God’s standard. We can never be holy in our own right, we can only be made holy by Him. This is another manifestation of the paradox at the heart of the gospel: we are to be like Jesus, to be perfect in love, but we can’t do it. Only He can!
It’s estimated Jesus walked up to 20 miles a day to spread the Gospel. He travelled light. He wasn’t looking for earthly possessions.
Jesus was looking for relationships. Jesus was looking for people. As a church we intend to follow the example of Jesus, sowing the kingdom of God, seed by seed among the people we interact with.
A few months ago I was asked to come up with some sort of prophetic drama thing for one of our events, our annual Sheffield Praise Day. As I’m neither the world’s most natural thespian nor content with coming up with something shallow I spent a few weeks not knowing what to do, wrestling with ideas.
Corporate wealth will always eventually end up as a snare and a stumbling block to the Church and ours will be no exception. How will we know when we are too rich? We seem so far from being the “Church of the poor” that we style ourselves as.