Is sharing with each other a lost art in modern times? In the Book of Acts (4:32-37), we’ll discover that sharing played a big part in spreading “The Way” for Christ followers.
This brings us to the point of today’s Bible lesson about sharing what we have.
Taking into account that these were new Christians, and the resurrection of Christ was still fresh, these people went “above the call” to give.
They seemed to have no issue with selling just about everything they owned in order to share what they had with others.
So, how do you & I feel about our possessions?
Believers Share Physical Possessions with Those in Need
And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.
And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.
Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. – Acts 4:32-37 NASB
Unity among Christians
First, the message from Acts 4 states that the Christian believers were unified.
At times, we overlook a single line in the Bible. And, it seems insignificant.
But, in reality one sentence can be very powerful.
The fact is, unity among Christians is absolutely essential if the church is to be healthy and survive.
Of course, this is easy to say but really difficult to practice.
Why? Because, when you have lots of people with different viewpoints, you’ll find tension.
Ahh… To Put Differences Aside
Christians, just like any other human beings, have their own opinions and perspectives about how things should be done.
And, sometimes they express them rather bluntly, don’t they? Sure (we) do!
But, these things become less important if they are bound spiritually.
If the people have an unyielding love for God, other differences can be worked out.
Did Early Christians Practice Socialism?
I remember the hippie movement of the 1960s and how it rose and fell.
Yes, these young people gathered together as a “family”, so to speak.
But, although they portrayed themselves as a sharing group (nobody owning anything), the one goal that drove them (The Vietnam War) disappeared—and so did they.
Yes, the hippies of the 60s began with good intentions and yet their approach to socialistic living failed. This is how socialism works out in most cases.
The Love of Christ Prevails
The people of the early church mentioned in Acts were eager to help out their fellow believers in need.
And, their love for God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit outweighed the love for possessions which allowed them to give.
Why Do I Say “Without Socialism”?
Some would say this is a socialistic society and others would even mention communism because of no one person having more than an other.
But, this was not the case…
Jesus Says: Freely Give – Freely Receive
The Book of Matthew talks about giving. It says…
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” ~ Matthew 10:8
Jesus told His disciples to give freely as they had received.
And, He gave the ultimate price — He gave His life so that we could be forgiven and live eternally.
How do personal possessions compare? They can’t!
How Does Socialism Work?
Now to answer the question of socialism…
First, in a socialistic society the governing bodies decide to share from the rich and give to the poor. The government decides who deserves what belongings.
So, the people who have worked hard for what they have are forced to give to those who can’t, or won’t work.
This type of society seldom works for long because the incentive to succeed is taken away.
The Christian Equation — Giving
The people of this Scripture reading were not forced to give.
They volunteered to sell possessions and give to those in need. The reason behind their giving makes this completely different from socialism.
What the people gave didn’t include everything they had – only what was needed at any given time.
How Do You Feel about Possessions?
But, we should help those who truly need our resources.
When you join a church family, you’ll discover plenty of opportunities to give to very worth causes.
And, when you give a 10% tithe, the church will continue to share the Word of Christ to millions throughout the world!
The resources you give can include money — but time, skills and talents are included too.
Let’s examine today how and where we can give.
And remember, as the song below says: “We can’t out-give the Lord.”
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to see John 3:16.