The Means of Production and the Capital
May I not conclude this chapter without talking about a very important part of production. At the inauguration of the church, Christians turned to voluntary socialism. The Bible doesn’t reprimand them because the sharing was alright but selling the means of production was not a good idea in the long run.
In the book of Acts, Luke is telling the story of what was happening. He was not keen to endorse or question what he recorded. This means that there are things believers did that one may not take as a good example considering that some of their acts were informed by what could have been a euphoric zeal or impulsive perceptions. For example, there was a general perception that Jesus would come back in their lifetime. This may have been the reason some of them sold their land and gave money to the apostles to distribute to those who had needs.
“Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”—Acts 4:34-37.
It is understandable the kind of ‘excitement’ the believers had that made them overly euphoric. Nevertheless, the Bible expects us to be sober at whatever we are doing. They could still have done better by managing the good will they had about helping one another. The reason is that if they kept the means of production (land) and the capital, they could continue producing and sharing out. In this way, they were destined to give more than giving once after selling land and houses.
I believe the grace was there to cover them for this innocent and well-meaning mistake, but there was something they missed as far as good stewardship is concerned.
Reflections and Questions to Ponder1. What is the spiritual relevance of the idea of investment?2. The idea of “planting a seed” has been abused in some quotas. Why is ‘planting a seed’ liable for abuse in a spiritual context?3. Majority of believers do not get rich through ‘miracles’, they do through hard work and patience. Do you agree? What scriptures would you use to establish that God has called us to work?4. In business, it is what we call the capital. In farming, it is what we call the seed. Among the things you have, have you identified what your capital is and what your seed is? In what way are you going to invest or sow?5. Do you invest your time or spend it? List ways in which time can be invested and ways in which it can be spent. In your personal use of time, how does it balance out in terms of investment and spending?6. Is it scriptural to maintain that one can invest on earth but reap in heaven? If yes, what are some of the scriptures supporting this?