I’m sure that many of you have heard by now that I love to listen to talk radio, especially while driving around town. When our children were younger it used to drive them crazy whenever they would ride with me, because they knew they would be forced to listen to my choice of stations and not their own. If it were up to them, any selection would be better than talk radio. Thank God as they have matured, so have their listening habits as well.
Recently while listening to one of my favorite networks, National Public Radio, I heard a story about a concept that I was somewhat familiar with, but not a great deal. The topic of discussion was The Rise of the Sharing Economy. By definition, the sharing economy (also known as the peer to peer economy) is a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical assets. In a nutshell what that means is that due to technology of the internet, the sharing of these assets has been made easier and, yes, cheaper. Bottom line, in a sharing economy, it allows you to share the assets that you possess, whether they be cars, equipment or even a space in your home. Sites such as eBay and other retail sites like it have helped to foster a spirit of sharing, but sharing for a profit.
Although the concept of the sharing economy has recently been growing by leaps and bounds, the essence of this phenomenon is nothing new. As a matter of fact, I would even go as far as to say that it is biblical. In Acts 4:32 the Apostle Paul in speaking to the believers of the early church said;
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”
In essence what Paul meant was that no one looked upon his or her assets as something that belong exclusively to them, but instead they were viewed as something that could be used for the benefit of others as well. This meant that if I possessed something that you could benefit from, I would feel compelled by the love of Christ to share it with you? But the major difference with the sharing economy and this practice of the early church is that unlike the philosophy behind the sharing economy, these early believers shared their goods for free.
I recently read a statement by Jay Link, president of Stewardship Ministries, that caused me to undergo some deep reflection. Link says, “The book of Acts is an historical book that gives us an invaluable glimpse into the life and times of the early church. If what we see in this book were carefully studied, it could serve as a compelling blueprint for how Jesus intended for His church to live and fellowship together.”
What should be our response to this as modern day believers you ask? Honestly, I’m not quite sure, but one thing I do know is that it should not be a response of words but one of deeds. Not a sermon…Just a thought.