“Should and shun” is the language of law not love, in my opinion.
The New Testament teaches followers of Jesus to let love, not law, guide giving and consuming. This is true for all Christians, irrespective of call or position.
We are invited to live lives that embody a “Whatever & Whenever You Want” freedom found in love. The Apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 8:12-15:
“Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.”
Love strips us of the power of law that leads to self-made religion. Religion has a foundation of obedience to law, it becomes a tool of judgment of self and others. When law is the standard of right-ness, we humans end up using that standard to play judge and we always fall short of accurate judgment.
Love liberates us from law. Love is not a duty or burden, it's a joy. Love understands that it has a privilege, opportunity and commitment to serve and support others in a way that is equitable, without compulsion or without resentment. The gospel of God's grace is a free gift. That foundation of freedom underlies everything we do in community. Our service, gifts, submission, participation or anything else is done freely out of love not law. Our life is lived from within not without. We fast or feast from a spirit of gratitude and we judge only ourselves against love, scripture and conscience…in that order.
This orientation liberates us so we can live free from slavish pleasing of others or neurotic self-examination that almost always leads to condemnation or self-righteousness.
So enjoy wealth as Ecclesiastes 5:19 teaches:
“Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.”
Enjoy the gifts or God and enjoy sharing them with others too as St. Augustine said:
“God does not demand much of you. He asks back what he gave you, and from him you take what is enough for you. The superfluities of the rich are the necessities of the poor. When you possess superfluities, you possess what belongs to others.” (Exposition on Psalm 147, 12).
“Go on making use of your special, expensive foods, because you have got into the habit of them, because if you change your habits you get sick. Go on making use of your superfluities, but give the poor their necessities. He looks to you, you look to God. He looks to a hand that was made as he was, you look to a hand that made you. But it didn't only make you, it also made the poor man with you. He gave you both this life as a single road to travel along. You have found yourselves companions, walking along the same road; he's carrying nothing, you have an excessive load. He’s carrying nothing with him, you are carrying more than you need. You are overloaded; give him some of what you’ve got. At a stroke, you feed him and lessen your load. So give to the poor; I’m begging you, I’m warning you, I’m commanding you, I’m ordering you. Give to the poor whatever you like.” (Sermon 389,5-6)
“Whatever you like”….now that's a radical luxury!
I am Frederick Christian Blauer IV, but I go by Eric, it sounds less like a megalomaniac but still hints at my Scandinavian destiny of coastal conquest and ultimate rule. I have accumulated a fair number of titles: son, brother, husband, father, pastor, writer, artist and a few other more colorful titles by my fanged fans. I am a lover of story be it heard, read or watched in all beauty, gory or glory. I write and speak as an exorcist or poltergeist, splashing holy water, spilling wine and breaking bread between the apocalypse and a sleeping baby. I am possessed by too many words and they get driven out like wild pigs and into the waters of my blog at www.fcb4.tumblr.com. I work as a pastor at Jacob’s Well Church (www.jacobswellspokane.com) across the tracks on ‘that’ side of town. I follow Christ in East Central Spokane among saints, sinners, angels, demons, crime, condoms, chaos, beauty, goodness and powerful weakness. I have more questions than answers, grey hairs than brown, fat than muscle, fire than fireplace and experience more love from my wife, family and friends than a man should be blessed with in one lifetime.