How do we see our possessions and our fellow man? Are we selfish, or do we share? Do we love others as Christ loves us? These are important questions that Luke makes us think about in Acts 4:32-37.
The Jerusalem believers had a very mature view of material possessions; what they possessed was not their own-it all belonged to God. They showed unity and love in their prayers and their property. This started with Jesus’ resurrection, and it impressed many people. They are a good example for us to follow. If we want to bring others to Christ, the best way to do this is to show them kindness and minister to their needs. Kindness to them softens their hearts and makes them receptive to our message.
Christ blesses each of us for each other in fellowship. These blessings are to be shared. There was an immediate manifestation of God’s presence through the early believers that would establish them as a powerful witnesses for Christ. God’s grace was evident.
The people of the Jerusalem church lived with open hands. From their open hands, others could take what they needed, and into their open hands, God could put more resources to share. A closed hand misses two blessings in life: it can neither enjoy the blessing of giving to others nor receive blessings from a loving God.
The new believers were willing to share what they didn’t need to meet the needs of the poor. Christianity made them feel like they were members of one family. The early believers were of one heart, soul, blessing and all rooted in one great conviction. They had their minds, emotions and wills open to each other, and they were one with each other and with the resurrected Christ. They belonged to the same Redeemer, and they cheerfully parted with their property. Their ministry was a work of self-denial. This is a good example for us. No one should enter into ministry if they are not prepared to devote everything they have to serving God.
Christians are to be mutually dependent on each other. We are called to be Christ’s people, called to be in communion with Him and with each other, and together as the church to be the divine agent of God’s ministry today. This kind of caring for the needs of one another was rooted in the life they had experienced along the road with Jesus, who proclaimed, taught, fed and healed. The church has continued to roll up its sleeves to feed, to heal, to bring hope and to restore everyone who is in need. The church shows that the risen Saviour cares about us and our physical and mental well-being.
The true nature of the life of the body of Christ is the fellowship of its members. We are called to share with each other, helping each other to learn from their difficulties and to rejoice fully in the delights of life. We are called to be liberators and maximizers for each other.
We are called to serve God with what He has given us. It doesn’t matter if He has blessed us with wealth, a great family or good health. God wants us to be obedient and faithful with what we have. These gifts must be combined with God’s grace. Without His grace, we will be taken out of our own thoughts and behaviours as human beings.
There is no “right” time when people need help the most. There are always competing priorities and conflicting claims on our time. To be a source of help and hope, we must be willing to do what is necessary.
This would not be possible without the assurance of loyalty. All of us need people who are loyal to us and to whom we are loyal because of Christ’s loyalty to us. He is for us. He will not leave us or forsake us when we succeed or fail. When He lives in out hearts and souls, HE enables His own loyalty within us-first to Him and then to other people. We will open up our inner hearts and share only when we have an assurance of loyalty which keeps confidences and supports us when people criticize us.
The Book of Acts shows a community bound together by care and concern for one another that goes beyond self-interest. People with big egos won’t be at home in this community. God’s justice has come to the world. God’s justice means that every person has what they need for their dignity and worth. What if the wealth of the church was mobilized in today’s society just as it was in the Book of Acts? Few would be hungry or could say they had not heard the Gospel or they did not have the basic needs of life. True godly love will meet needs.
We are called to be leaders who serve people by coming alongside them to help them according to their needs. Sometimes our encouragement is tangible and practical, other times it comes through words and presence. Everyone everywhere needs encouragement.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New Kings James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 1493)
- Barnes’ Notes on the New testament. Part of Wordsearch 12 Bible software package.
- Ogilvie, L.J. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 28: Acts (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1983; pp. 105-111)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Vikki Burke, “The Spirit of Generosity.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Jack Graham, “How to Survive Success.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- “A Great Power.” Retrieved from Christianity.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ladd Bjorneby, “Acts 4:32-35.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Dr. Paul Chappell, “The Cost of Comfortable.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org