Blomberg on Generosity

From his book, Neither Poverty Nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions, Craig Blomberg concludes his chapter on Jesus’ teaching in the synoptic gospels with the following (from pgs. 145-6). It would do you well to read it slowly, thoughtfully, and personally.

It goes too far to say that one cannot be rich and be a disciple of Jesus, but what never appears in the Gospels are well-to-do followers of Jesus who are not simultaneously generous in almsgiving and in divesting themselves of surplus wealth for the sake of those in need. ‘This free attitude to possessions may be expressed in a disposal of private property, though this is not mandatory. It will certainly find expression in an almost reckless generosity, motivated not by a dour sense of obligation but by a warm and unselfish compassion’ (France 1979:18). There is room for the periodic celebration of God’s good, material gifts, even at times to a lavish extent. But these celebrations will be the exception, not the norm. The covenant model that assumes material reward for piety never reappears in Jesus’ teaching, and is explicitly contradicted throughout. As in Proverbs 30:8-9, Jesus is concerned to moderate extremes. But the main focus of his ministry, the road to the cross, and this call to disciples to imitate him in similar self-denying sacrifice rather than basking in glory, suggests the overarching paradigm of generous giving, rather than ‘godly materialism’, for the one who would faithfully follow Christ.