An Exchange of Values


"Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out — a treasure in heaven that never decreases, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys." - Luke 12:33

The doctrine of nonaccumulation states that Jesus commands His disciples to distribute those possessions they do not currently need for the needs of others and for spreading the gospel.  If further prohibits His people from accumulating wealth on this earth (Matthew 6:19-21).  The practical application of this principle was demonstrated by the early disciples (Acts 4:32-35).  For them, this was not an abstraction, a good intention, or a statement of an unattainable ideal.  It was, quite simply, the way authentic discipleship was lived out.

However, before this doctrine can take its rightful place in our lives, it must first win the battle against its greatest enemy.  This enemy, if not completely destroyed, will become an insurmountable barrier to the acceptance of this doctrine.  It doesn't matter how many Scriptures there are to support the doctrine or the number of arguments that exist to prove it to be true.  A person will never be able truly to accept this doctrine if this enemy is left standing.

The name of this enemy is "a wrong value system."  It is a value system that tells us that the things of this world have genuine value (as opposed to being worthless).  It tells us that having much of this world's wealth is somehow better than having little of it.

None of us are exempt from the effects of this erroneous value system.  All humans are born with it, and it usually becomes evident in children at a very young age.  It is what drives people to own, to possess, and to take control over things such as toys, food, money, businesses, and entire nations.

We cannot truly accept the doctrine of nonaccumulation unless we first adopt the value system of Jesus.  And we cannot adopt the value system of Jesus unless we give up the value system we received at birth, the value system of this world.

The world says that stocks, bonds, gold coins, land, and savings accounts have real value.  Christ says that nothing on earth has any real value except that which can be converted into Heavenly treasure before we die.  The world says that financial security is something we all should strive to achieve.  Christ says that financial security is something that will destroy our faith and steal our love.  The world says that it is honorable to leave your children financially well off.  Christ says that such a move would endanger their souls, because a rich person will hardly enter the kingdom of God.

To accept the complete gospel of Jesus Christ, including the doctrine of nonaccumulation, we must exchange our values for His values.  In the deepest recesses of our heart, the things that the world considers valuable must be replaced with that which Christ considers valuable.

If you can completely internalize this upside-down value system, it will revolutionize your life.  That which you used to think was important will now seem trivial.  Your passion will become the kingdom of God.  Your thoughts and actions will be centered on eternity, not on this present life.

If this exchange of values does not take place in your heart, however, the doctrine of nonaccumulation will seem like a legalistic burden or even pure heresy.  But once you make the exchange, the doctrine and its logical implications will seem so obvious to you that writing it down will actually become rather unnecessary.  With kingdom values in place, the practical applications will suggest themselves; they will be things you will naturally want to do, not things you have to do.

- Roger Hertzler