In describing his ideal human society, Karl Marx once wrote, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”
Many Americans love to heap scorn upon Marx’s head for his “collectivist” beliefs, citing America’s “foundation of Christian principles” and freedom to pursue one’s own interests and (hopefully) get rich doing so.
I find this rather interesting when I consider Jesus’ statement in the Book of Luke, Chapter 12, Verse 48: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
In Chapter 18 of the same book, when a wealthy ruler asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him to “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the rich man refused, Jesus lamented “ … it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
In Chapter 6 of the book of Matthew, Verses 19-21, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
American culture, with its presumed principle of “raw individualism,” pretty much demands that we “grab our piece of the pie” and cling tightly to it. In fact, today, anyone who might attempt to live as Jesus did, owning only the clothes on his back and surviving on handouts, would be scorned as a worthless bum.
America sure doesn’t look very “Christ-like” to me.
Perhaps, as Benjamin Franklin observed, “Serving God is doing good to man, but praying is thought an easier service, and therefore more generally chosen.”
Wayne L. Parker