Christianity’s Contributions: Labor dignified (Part 3)

As we close out thoughts on the Christian influence on work and the dignity it provides, a biblical worldview regarding property rights and freedom is in order as well.

The Bible tells us clearly that money isn’t the root of all evil; the love of money is a root of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).  It is our sinful heart that is the problem, not cold, hard cash.  Therefore, having money or possessions isn’t the issue.  The sin is loving money above God and others.  That’s why God allows people to have material goods and doesn’t label ownership of it as sin.  As a matter of fact, theft and coveting another’s possessions are the real sins.  “Do not steal” and “Do not covet” (Exodus 20:15, 17) assumes the right and freedom to buy, keep, and sell property at will, something James 4:13-17 talks about:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.  If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.


And contrary to popular belief, the Early Church wasn’t Communist.  In  Acts 2:44-45 and 4:32-35 they exhibited a voluntary decision to share their possessions.  This was an individual decision, one not imposed on the people from the government as in Communism.  The texts read, respectively, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need,” and,

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

 If you read Acts some still owned their own homes  (Acts 10:32 and 12:12).  So the Early Church was not Communist.  They shared willingly, not under government coercion.  Capitalism (or a free market) is a voluntary exchange of goods and services, and is not sinful.  Sin is lawlessness, or missing the mark, which is not obeying God’s will (1 John 3:4).  You are free to work, earn money, and have possessions.  That is not sin; disobeying God is.


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