The ancient account of Achan and his impulsive greed is a story Bible readers know very well. He was part of the invasion force entering the enemy city of Jerico. Before the invasion, everyone was told they were to destroy the city, but to bring back precious metals to the treasury of the Israelites. Achan must have come across the residence of a wealthy man because of what he found. Instead of following explicit instructions, he kept certain plunder for his own selfish desire. The results of Achan’s disobedience was far-reaching. The Israelites suffered a devastating defeat in their subsequent invasion of Ai because God was not protecting them as a result of Achan’s earlier actions. After Achan’s actions came to light, he and his family were sentenced to death.
In parallel, just as Achan’s account occurred when the Israelites were taking possession of their “Promised Land,” Christians are on the brink of entering the new system. Is there potential for the same drama to unfold at that time? As the survivors start to organize, picture this scenario: Some are sent out to find as much food as possible and bring it back to a central location for equitable distribution. Others are sent out to find clothing and bedding. Let’s say that in this particular expedition, the scavengers are told to leave jewelry alone because it is deemed non-essential valuables at this time. But as individuals go through the ruins, one person finds a stunning piece of jewelry. They reason in their heart, “It is only one piece. No one is going to miss it.” Therefore they take it, in direct disregard for the instructions they were given.
It may seem like a very small thing, but it comes right back to the root issues of disobedience and greed. I’m not suggesting that anyone is going to die as punishment. The point is, as Jesus himself put it: “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10)