would you sell your stuff to give to those in need?

Jesus talked about selling our stuff and giving to the poor.  the early church did it…with great results.  so why don’t we see this happening today?  why is it that we, especially as christians in america, especially in these economic times, are so quick to just brush over that “crazy talk” and at best rationalize away such notions?

since the past year or so God has been opening my families eyes to these glaring blind spots in what we call our faith, starting with some super convicting messages on money (through Rankin Wilborne of PCC in LA). the deception of money (and goods) is that none of us really thinks we have a problem with it.  until someone asks to see how we spend it or asks us to give it away.  as i was reading the book of acts i came across this passage (which we are studying in my internship and at church.  coincidence?  i think not.):

“And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” – Acts 2:45

i couldn’t shake it.  God was convicting me.  i know some people in need in my community.  i know i have a lot of stuff that i don’t REALLY need (including my prized DVDs and comics…that i’ve painstakingly collected over the years) that people actually would want to buy (not that “yard sale” stuff even my friends wouldn’t want).  so i came up with a plan to sell some of my stuff (books, dvds, cds) and give proceeds to those people in need.   i made a call out on facebook.  the response was…interesting.  a number of people “liked” the status, only a handful of people actually took me up on the offer (thanks!), and a couple just made jokes about it.

what was i expecting?  i don’t know…maybe something a little more glorious?   it was revealing.   granted, it was not a very organized campaign, it was not convenient for people…and it seems people don’t value my stuff like i did.  but i also realized that there is a part of myself that seeks out my own glory.  with my wife’s help i had to edit that facebook post like crazy, finding myself want to sound good…and (with a cue from ananias and saphira) why does it still sting a little to know i need to keep my word to give all proceeds…even with the small amount raised?  it’s interesting that even a good idea can be warped with my selfishness.  i got issues with money.  we got issues with money.

what would happen if we actually trusted Jesus and lived like the church God calls us to be?


5 thoughts on “would you sell your stuff to give to those in need?”

  1. It’s interesting how people approach charitable giving today. I think in today’s society it is more about the purpose of distribution, how things will be used, and whether or not we can do better for those around us by holding on to what we have and using it more wisely for the benefit of others.

    For instance, I remember times when we would eat in Westwood and a homeless person would ask us for money. We would offer to buy the man dinner, and he would refuse, wanting money instead. On one occasion, a man even said quite plainly in response to our offer, “I just want to by some vodka. Can you give me that?” In that situation, I think we all thought our offer of a meal shared with us was a cool idea, but it kind of fell flat on its face. Maybe that’s similar to how you felt when you thought that putting your treasured items up for sale for charity would produce some heart-warming response. So I think people are just very cynical these days, probably just as the general populace was back then.

    Some people try to offer up charity in different ways. I don’t make a lot of money, and I’m not particularly good with money, so giving too much of it away isn’t really a wise move for me. But I have settled for lower paying jobs that have had more profound impacts on individuals, as well as lots of volunteer work.

    Time is perhaps one of our most precious things. And giving that away for our fellow man, I think, is just as important as selling off our goods to provide for them.

    1. i am all for wise giving. your example of the homeless man reminds me of how, when we actually do give, our conditions for giving aren’t always based upon what the needs on the ground level actually are (of course, not that booze is the answer).

      however, too often, i suspect our conditions to give are used as an excuse to not give…especially when it comes to money for some reason. i am struck how God instituted the levitical laws for giving (tithing, gleaning laws, years of jubilee, etc) regardless of whether people could cheat the system. God would deal with how the receivers used the resources…but the command still stood to give. although it’s true we are not held to those laws now but Jesus actually set the bar even higher. we are to love like he loved us…and he gave his whole life…regardless of how people took (and still do take) advantage of him.

      indeed we can give of all sorts of resources beyond money such as valuable time. mother teresa captured it well when she shared “Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.” so it is true we shouldn’t “just” give money…but we ought to practice “the latter without leaving the former undone.”

  2. i would buy your dvds!! you have good taste in movies. when did this sale happen? (sorry. my comment is shallow compared to the depth of this post.)

  3. I appreciate the fact that you are not a foolish risk taker but you are a faithful God lover on a constant mission to run the good race.

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