Just like with anything else when it comes to relationships, we can look to God. If you look carefully, you will see that the members of the Godhead possess things on their own. Jesus said this was the case when He was talking to His Father…
“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me: for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them” John 17: 9, 10.
Mi casa es su casa :).
The attitude of God
Now possession is different than ownership. All of the members of the Godhead own everything equally. But they do not possess everything equally.
They possess things individually that belong to the community. Each of them exist with an attitude of “what’s mine is yours, and yours is mine.”
They possess things, but they possess them FOR the community.
What happens when a group of people take on this same posture and attitude toward one another? There’s a continual movement of resources. There’s a consistent flow of giving and receiving within the normal rhythms of life together.
Just like the Father, Son and Spirit are always giving to one another, a healthy church has members that are always giving to one another.
Possessing is meant to be relational
This is not taking a mechanical collection. It doesn’t mean money is thrown together into a common fund waiting to later be dispersed. It’s commonly misunderstood that the first churches did this.
They did take collections dynamically for special needs and occasions where it was appropriate for a church to give a lump sum of money for a specific cause. But this type of thing was not a mechanical occurrence. It was relational. It was organic.
They collected for things when they were inspired by the Spirit to support a person to spread the gospel or to help a church in another city that was struggling financially.
Mechanical depersonalized giving robs a community of the nature of giving and receiving. Money becomes possession-less and therefore un-relational.
Giving and receiving are supposed to be a personal matter. It’s an activity that is supposed to take place between people. We see this is the case within the members of God.
Because you possess something, you can give it. And because others possess something, you can receive from them. This giving and receiving is love being expressed. It’s a relational activity.
When resources are thrown together to be later dispersed, do you see how it depersonalizes the community? People are no longer receiving directly from other people.
Losing everything for one another
Godly possessing only works when a community buys in together. Individuals within a community are not going to consider their possessions the community’s if they don’t trust the community’s possessions are also theirs.
I appreciate how Milt Rodriguez describes how this works within God in his book The Community Life of God…
The Father can be completely secure in losing everything to the Son because He knows that His “everything” will still be retained by the community.
The flowing and sharing of possessions with one another is a strong indication of the health of a church. It’s a catalyst for the members of a church being built together. Where you find people holding tight to their possessions, you find a church that will struggle to be healthy.
People hold tight because they don’t trust that they’re secure in the community. So they keep their possessions as a safety net for themselves. They store up so that they’re protected from loss.
Godly community is all about loss. It’s about losing yourselves for one another. This is God’s nature and we are designed to be His image.