Is it right for wealthier members to keep their money? Shouldn't they give it all away if they really love other people? If everyone in the church shared, we could all have a good standard of living.

First, Jesus commanded only one would-be follower to give away all his wealth (Luke 18, the "rich young ruler"). Not even Zacchaeus, who had wronged others (Luke 19), was commanded to "give it all away." Giving away all we own is different to sharing gladly and freely with those in want. The first can be done without love (1 Corinthians 13), the second fulfills the scriptures. Besides, if we pooled all our possessions, then there would be no opportunity to help the needy members any more, since we’d all be equally "needy." The inequality affords room for compassion, generosity, and (reciprocally) gratitude. This brings me to an important distinction.

The New Testament seems to distinguish between the "poor" and the "needy." The poor, in many countries, will always predominate. The Bible does command the rich to be generous and to share (1 Timothy 6:17), but it never commands us to pool resources so that every church member is at the same standard of living.

The needy sometimes require assistance in order to and eat, drink, clothe themselves (the basics of Matthew 6:25-34 may be met by others, as in Matthew 25). Jesus Christ's plan for meeting their needs entails the assistance of the local congregation. "Needy" and "poor" are not the same thing. "There were no needy persons among them" is not to say "There were no poor persons among them." Most believers—like most throughout human history—are poor.

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