Acts 4:32-35

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. Acts 4:32-35

I’m going to come right out and say it. I am suspicious about this text. There are two things that cause this suspicion. I am worried that it is hyperbole. Selective memory. Another example of “Back in my day, things were really great…” And I’m worried because it is the sort of thing that might actually work if people had the guts to try it.

This little paragraph is a snapshot example of an entire community, so deeply committed to their common purpose of carrying the good news of Jesus into the world, that they literally were willing to sell their own land and homes to support the lives of others. They did so as an act of faith and love, without consulting their financial advisors or even considering the tax implications of such a generous charitable contribution.

Now, it isn’t that this kind of behavior is impossible. I’ve known people who sold vacation homes, farmland, or other valuable assets in order to make significant leading gifts for the sake of the church or other charities. People do things like that when buildings are being built or foundations established. But this is about sharing a common life. Supporting the daily needs of others. Literally depending on God and one another for the very basics of life.

I’ve heard of congregations that have decided to tackle one another’s debt burdens. Several families decide to team up to attack debt. They take turns all pitching in, based on their ability to contribute, until every family is debt free. That too could work if people were committed to working together selflessly and honestly.

When is the last time that you were asked to make a significant sacrifice of your own time, talents or treasures for a cause greater than yourself? If asked, are you willing to go there?

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, we read this account of a community that was truly a community and it both attracts and frightens us. We long for that kind of connectedness in our lives but we so seldom see or experience it. Selfishness, competitiveness, and fear seem such strong forces within and around us that we can’t imagine such willingness to sacrifice and risk for the sake of others. But today, you show us once again that what seems impossible to us is always possible for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Acts 4:32-35”

  1. kirk921 Says:

    yes it seems impossible but with God all things are possible. A Men

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