If economic catastrophe does come, will it be a time that draws Christians together to share every resource we have, or will it drive us apart to hide in our own basements or mountain retreats, guarding at gunpoint our private stores from others? If we faithfully use our assets for his kingdom now, rather than hoarding them, can't we trust our faithful God to provide for us then?
If we were to gain God's perspective, even for a moment, and were to look at the way we go through life accumulating and hoarding and displaying our things, we would have the same feelings of horror and pity that any sane person has when he views people in an asylum endlessly beating their heads against the wall.
Some take pains to be biblical, but many [Christian financial teachers, writers, investment counselors, and seminar leaders] simply parrot their secular colleagues. Other than beginning and ending with prayer, mentioning Christ, and sprinkling in some Bible verses, there's no fundamental difference. They reinforce people's materialist attitudes and lifestyles. They suggest a variety of profitable plans in which people can spend or stockpile the bulk of their resources. In short, to borrow a term from Jesus, some Christian financial experts are helping people to be the most successful 'rich fools' they can be.
When I save, I lay something aside for future need. If I sense God's leading, I will give it away to meet greater needs. When I hoard, I'm unwilling to part with what I've saved to meet others' needs, because my possible future needs outweigh their actual present needs. I fail to love my neighbor as myself.
When someone steals another's clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.
Giving up everything must mean giving over everything to kingdom purposes, surrendering everything to further the one central cause, loosening our grip on everything. For some of us, this may mean ridding ourselves of most of our possessions. But for all of us it should mean dedicating everything we retain to further the kingdom. (For true disciples, however, it cannot mean hoarding or using kingdom assets self-indulgently.)