4 May. Acts 2:43-47

4 May. Jesus’s followers support each other financially

“The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God.”

“All the believers were together and shared everything. They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it.”

“The believers met together in the [Jewish] Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts.”

“They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers.”

          (Acts 2:43-47)

 

 

Who thinks it’s not radical to be a Christian? This passage tells us that the first followers of Jesus were amazingly radical for their day (and for our times too!).

After being filled to overflowing with the joy and power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, the followers who were wealthy felt so much love and happiness when sharing with their neighbours and fellow Christians that they often sold their surplus land, property and possessions so they could help the less prosperous members of their community whom they saw as their Christian brothers and sisters.

They opened their homes to those less fortunate than themselves, and welcomed both friends and strangers to share their meals with joyful hearts. And those they helped felt loved and respected, and they quickly recognised that Christians were DIFFERENT because they shared the love, joy and wealth that God had given them. Hardly surprising then, that many of them also became followers of Jesus.

This was just as radical a lifestyle in 30AD as it is today. And it was just as effective a way of sharing the Good News of new life in Jesus as it is today.

So why, as Christians, don’t we ALL do it? Why don’t we all, as followers of Jesus, cash in our surplus wealth and use it to bring joy and happiness to those less fortunate than ourselves? Why is it so difficult to share our possessions and money, and to give away our excess wealth??

One answer is that we rely on our wealth for our future happiness, and we don’t have enough faith to rely on God for our future security and well-being!

It was always like this…

A rich young Jewish man - one of the wealthy set in Jerusalem - once asked Jesus how he could gain eternal life. When Jesus asked if he obeyed all God’s commandments, he assured Jesus that he lived a good life and never slept around, stole from others, or argued with his neighbours.

But Jesus’s advice shocked him. Jesus said, “One more thing you need to do; sell everything you have and give it to the poor. THEN, you will have treasure in heaven.”
(Luke 18:18-25)

Unable to bring himself to give away his money, the young man went away richer but sadder.

Why are we so often like this rich young man? God blesses us hugely, yet we are so reluctant to share our financial blessings with others.

Shortly after we were married, my wife and I worked on the staff of a Christian boarding school and lived during term-time in a school house provided as part of the job. We sold our own home and bought an apartment in the English Lake District so we could spend time there during the school holidays.

But during term-time we let Christian friends and missionary families use our home for free. As a result, we have friends all over the world who enjoyed a cheap holiday and were blessed by being able to relax in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK.

Other people thought we were mad! Why hadn’t we rented out the property and made loads of money?? But for us, being able to share God’s blessings with others was worth far more than the money we could have gained.

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus warned about the debilitating effect of wanting more and more money: “Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide with me the property our father left us.’ Jesus replied, ‘Who said I should judge or decide between you? Be careful, and guard against all kinds of greed’.” (Luke 12:13-15)

The photo shows a church in Kenya that we and our Christian friends were able to help by purchasing a plot of land to grow food for their orphanage. 

You can read more about Jesus’s attitude towards wealth @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/jesuss-teachings-on-a-hi…/


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