God doesn’t love your 401(k)

That was the cover line on this excerpt from God’s Economy, a new book by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.
It’s a radical thought — let’s really do what Jesus would do with our property and our goods — let’s share them. Inspired by the book of Acts, is trying to live the way he thinks early Christians did. I’m not so sure Jesus would have actually advocated everyone live that way; the parable of the talents and Jesus’ praise for the servants who used their money to create more value for their master come to mind. But I may view this issue through a lens convenient for me.
The bigger question is whether Christians should in fact trust in God to give them what they need. We know it probably won’t be what we want (what, no flat-screen? no private school for the kids?). But how much do we need? Do we need three televisions, each with their own cable box? Do we need separate phone lines and internet connections? Do we need a finished basement? I know that three televisions would have seemed like heaven growing up; my brother and I fought my sister over Lassie vs. Wild Kingdom. But even with three TVs, I’ve noticed that my boys still squabble about what to watch. Living in a shared community would probably make them crazy. Even Wilson-Hartgrove confesses he sometimes wants to chuck the whole shared community thing.

Wilson-Hartgrove throws a gauntlet down to anyone who is a believer. He reminds us that no matter what Max Weber or others have said,

grace in abundance is all God offers. Jesus never preaches a religious system—he invites us into a new economy free of charge. Anybody is welcome, but we can live in our Father’s house only if we acknowledge that our whole life is a gift. This is a fairly straightforward message that Jesus repeats often. But I’ll have to admit that receiving the gift of God’s economy has been a challenge for me.

It would challenge most of us to go even a few steps towards what he’s done. I can’t imagine following him. But I’m thinking about what he said, especially about the idea of a community that supports each other over time. It sure isn’t like my 401(k) is likely to support me in my old age.

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