Acts 4: 32 – 37 The believers share their possessions
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’) sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
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I think the key to this passage is the sentence:
And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them.
People’s generosity was stirred up and they met every material need of the community. When we love our neighbour, we don’t want them to be in need.
I find this passage extremely challenging. Are we prepared even to have a family member live with us at our expense and costing us greatly in time, for example an elderly relative with dementia? If there are to be no needy people among us, we’ve got to be prepared to go beyond even this and welcome strangers into our lives and into our houses.
God’s grace (that was so powerfully at work in them) is his love for us, which exceeds anything we can imagine. The more aware we are of that love, the more we will want to pass it on to others.
The key to living like this seems to be that we must continuously experience God’s love. To do that we need to pray, to seek to understand what God wants us to do, to step out in faith and try to do what he’s telling us. In short, we need to practise experiencing the love and leading of God.
Fortunately, God doesn’t expect us to be perfect all at once. I confess that I am at the stage of taking baby-steps of faith. I try to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, but all too readily they slip back to my selfish preoccupations. All I can do is trust in Jesus.
Thank you for loving me. Please help me to trust in Jesus and in your Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ name, Amen