Monday, November 21st. Acts 4:32-37

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 4:32-37

 

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

 

Is there a child in the world who hasn’t heard their parents say this line – or some other cultural equivalent?

 

Is there a parent who hasn’t said this line only to hear their smarty-pants child come back with “Yes it does because it is made of paper”.  Which, if patience is available to said parent, then turns to an explanation of the cotton content of modern money.  And there you go.

 

Here’s the truth….money doesn’t grow on trees.

 

Here’s another truth….the vast majority of people with marketable skills AND a job (those two no longer go together as they once did) acquire enough money to provide the minimum needs for sustaining their lives.  Right now we are living through a difficult period of economic change.  It affects virtually everyone.  A 10%+ unemployment rate in many parts of the United States, interest income down, a highly volatile stock market, glaring problems in the European countries – all of this has increased our anxiety and hit us in the pocketbooks.  But the vast majority of us still have food to eat, a place to sleep, and enough left over to share with others.

 

It isn’t like this everywhere.  It isn’t like this for everyone.  But that has always been the case.  There has always been and there will always be wide disparities in how the good gifts of God are provided, acquired, managed, distributed and saved.

 

In this scene from Acts 4, the spiritual reawakening which has come in the power of the indwelling Spirit of God has also produced a new kind of social awareness.  The new disciples are loving one another, not just in words, but in deeds.  They are sharing what they have with those who have little or nothing, the result of which is that there are no needy among them.

 

Some of what is shared comes from the daily incomes of people.  Some of what is shared comes from accumulated assets which are being sold and the proceeds donated.  This passage makes conservative capitalists nervous (it sounds too much like socialism or even communism) but it must sound like water on parched land to the poor.  It is a vision of a very different life than the dog eat dog survival rat race that is the most common way of being in the world.

 

But remember.  Money doesn’t grow on trees.  God is not magically dropping lottery winnings on the early church.  People are experiencing “enough” in life because those with “more than enough” are sharing what they have.  God gives everything but it takes human beings to manage the distribution of that everything.  The issue isn’t “is that possible?” – the issue here is “are we willing?”

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, thank you for all that we are and all that we have.  Thank you for the privilege of daily work and a trustworthy income.  Thank you for opportunities to share with others.  Especially this week we pray for an attitude of gratitude that flows into a heart of generosity. We pray today for those without enough, for those seeking jobs, for those who work hard but struggle to meet the demands of their lives.  Where we can be helpful, relieve our anxiety and give us the willingness to share.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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4 Responses to “Monday, November 21st. Acts 4:32-37”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Humbling. Thank you.

  2. Toby Williams Says:

    Hey Pastor Kerry,
    So if the Kingdom of God is a sub-version to the kingdom of this world (Brueggeman), how are we supposed to sell it and not make it a political statement?
    But if the political statement is the way that the world works, and if we who follow Jesus are to live in the world and promote the kingdom, how will we ever be heard without label (republican, democrat)?
    How will the subversion of the world be sold to those who live and benefit from the System (most of us)? We have done it in the past with conditional thinking (blessed are the poor IN SPIRIT). How will we (with God) ever change the system?
    Toby Williams, abilene, tx.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous & continuous giving is far more joyful than hoarding for the retirement years. Roth, IRA & 401k disappear with the economy. In retrospect, many folks might have benefited in years past with a little attitude adjustment.

  4. dolar hoy Says:

    Hi, Neat post. There is an issue with your site in internet explorer, may test this? IE still is the market leader and a big component of other folks will omit your great writing because of this problem.

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