Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. Acts 4:32 (ESV)
The story of the early church is a humbling and powerful story. In chapter after chapter we are confronted with a church who cared more for the group than they did for themselves. Sometimes, I joke around with Melinda and say, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.” The early church didn’t play around with this. They were anything but selfish. Men and women like Barnabas took their personal possessions, their land, their food, their homes, and shared it with the church. The spirit that prevailed in the church was a spirit of love and giving.
It can be hard for us to share to this level. Today’s media bombards us with marketing campaigns designed to make us feel like the center of the known world. “You, you, you, you, you!” Time and again we are told that this is what life is all about. The more you have the happier you are. The bigger your bank account, the more blessed your life. I hope that none of us buy into these lies. They are dangerous, deceptive, and easily believed.
God has called each of us to share our blessings with those who need blessed. The early church proves that when our greatest goal is Jesus and His will, it will be a blessing to others. In Acts 4:32-37, we see an amazing snapshot of the generosity in the church. They were of one mind and one heart; no one was needy and no one was hungry. They were united with each other and with God.
But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also… For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:7,12
The future of the church looks bright from my perspective. We have learned, grown, and become more Christ-like in many different ways especially in the area of giving. I am confident that you will continue to have the spirit of giving and love.
Don’t ever forget that we are the Lord’s church, we are a family, united and standing together through all the tough times ahead. United, as the body of Christ, nothing in this life can stand in our way.
Article by Jeff Arnette of the Central Haywood Church of Christ