We are living in a time of financial crisis. None of us is immune to the increasing cost of fuel, utilities, and basic food. We have witnessed food prices rocketing in local supermarkets and the scarcity of some items on the shelves. How does one navigate through these challenging times?
Although I don’t have a conclusive answer to this question, I am reminded of a situation in Scripture which may serve as a possible solution to our dilemma. In Acts 2: 41-47, we read: “Then those who gladly received his word were baptised; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Again, in Acts 4: 32-37, we read:
“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. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
It seems the church members understood that to survive the challenges of their day, there was a need for them to come together and share their finances. Those less fortunate were supported by the finances of those who had more. The rich were willing to sell their lands and possessions and entrust the finances with the church leaders so that the poor could benefit and, thus, all could survive.
Can we learn any lessons from these Scriptures? Are we willing to share all our resources among ourselves to survive this crisis? As financial professionals in our churches, can we seek their guidance to advise us on how we can best survive these difficult times?
As church groups, let us prayerfully find sustainable financial solutions that will assist those in need in our congregations and those in need in our local communities.
May God grant you peace during this festive season.
Dr Emmanuel Osei is the President of the South England Conference