Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lord of the things

What does the word “fellowship” bring to mind? If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, it probably has something to do with hobbits. And, if you’re a Christian, it may mean – er – having a cuppa after the service?

In fact, the Greek New Testament word which many bible versions translate, rather weakly, as “fellowship” has a lot more to it: koinonia. It’s about shared life, common unity or community; in fact, “everything in common.” (Imagine – “after tonight’s service, we’ll have an informal time of – everything in common”.)

Koinonia is displayed in all its glory in the early chapters of Acts: the first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to koinonia… all the believers were together and had everything in common.” (Acts 2:42, 44)

So what were those crazy, proto-communist, apostles teaching? Well, in fact, “all that Jesus had commanded them” (Matthew 28:20). The radical sharing in Acts is the direct result of Jesus’ teaching:
“Sell everything you have… and come follow me… Truly, no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:21, 29-30)

When someone like Barnabas threw his money at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36-37), personal ownership was over. But he gained “a hundred times as much”. He gained koinonia, the big spiritual family and all that it shared together (including persecutions; it’s not like the world doesn’t protest at its economy of death being so thoroughly challenged).

Jesus shared His money with His brothers (John 12:6); shouldn’t we? Jesus laid down His life for His friends (1 John 3:16-17); shouldn’t we?

Jesus taught, lived and died for koinonia. Shouldn’t we?

“This is my command: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen! I try to tell this to my Swedish rich Christian brothers and sisters, but they don't want to hear and says "phw... there were people in the OT who were rich...". When I then say that the rich people in the OT were landlords and kings who definitly had plenty of people to provide for (see for example 1 Kings 4:22-23 and think about if Salomon could eat all that for himself) they still don't want to listen.

Keep working out there in Britain for this true gospel. Maybe I'll join you some day.

//Micael, Sweden