A Balanced Word and a Challenge on How We Think about and Use Material Possessions
Craig Blomberg’s Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Material Possessions is an invaluable resource for thinking through a theology of what we own and how we are to steward it. I find his exegesis invariably careful and reasonable, though I think he at times imports unwarranted liberal presuppositions into his applications. But one of his concluding words in the book is something all of us should take to heart:
The bottom line is surely one of attitude. Does a discussion of issues like these threaten us, leading to counter-charges about guilt manipulation or to rationalizing our greeds as if they were our needs?
Or are we convicted in a healthy way that leads us to ask what more we can do to divest ourselves of our unused or unnecessary possessions, to make budgets to see where our money is really going, to exercise self-control and delayed gratification out of thanksgiving for all that God has blessed us with that we never deserved?
Are we eager to help others, especially fellow Christians, however undeserving they seem to be?
Are we concerned to expose ourselves widely to news of the world, including news from a distinctively Christian perspective, to have the plight of the impoverished millions not paralyse us but periodically reanimate our commitment to do better and to do more?
We may disagree on models of involvement, on to whom to give and on how much to give, but will we agree to continue to explore possibilities compatible with our economic philosophies and try to determine what really will do the most short-term and long-term good for the most needy?