Saturday, March 13, 2010

And None Were in Need

Acts 4 continued.

 32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

 36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.

How's that for an open hand.  While I won't advocate for some sort of theocratic socialism, I will say it seems that as believers we should hold our possessions a little more loosely.


Greg said...

Thanks for the reminder to hold things lightly. I've heard it said that we should live life w/ an open hand that God can put things in to and take things out of. As Jesus said, "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15)

Terry said...

Interesting that generosity and giving has been on our minds. I just read an article that should encourage us. Here are a couple of quotes from this article:
"Today, Americans voluntarily give over $30 billion a year to support higher education, and—thanks in part to philanthropy—America has the best colleges and universities in the world. Even our great flagship state universities depend on private contributions for much of their excellence. The University of Virginia, for instance, receives more revenue from private gifts and endowment income than it does from Virginia state appropriations. And in a time of state budget cuts and the stifling impulse toward sameness that results from bureaucratic rules, public universities across the country rely on private contributions for many of their unique attributes and distinctive achievements.

I have dwelt at length on higher education, but I could offer similar remarks about museums and orchestras, hospitals and health clinics, churches and synagogues, refuges for animals, protection of habitat, youth programs such as scouting and little league and boys and girls clubs, and grassroots problem-solvers who help the needy and homeless in their neighborhoods. Private charitable giving sustains all of these institutions and gives them the freedom to make their own decisions."
" We usually hear about charity in the media when there is a terrible disaster. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, we heard about the incredible outpouring of private generosity that amounted to $6 billion. What gets less attention is that Americans routinely give that much to charity every week. Last year Americans gave $300 billion to charity. To put this into perspective, that is almost twice what we spent on consumer electronics equipment—equipment including cell phones, iPods and DVD players. Americans gave three times as much to charity last year as we spent on gambling and ten times as much as we spent on professional sports. America is by far the most charitable country in the world. There is no other country that comes close."


"... we are the most religious people of any leading modern economy. The single most important determinant of charitable giving is active religious faith and observance. Americans who attend church or synagogue or another form of worship once a week give three times as much to charity as a percentage of their income as do those who rarely attend religious services. One-third of all charitable giving in America—$100 billion a year—goes to religion. Whether we are Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, or some other faith, we Americans have the freedom to support our own religious institutions, and this philanthropic freedom has been intimately linked to our religious liberty. But the giving by regular religious worshippers is not limited to their own churches. They also give more to secular charities than do those who never or rarely attend religious services."

I guess I posted this comment more to encourage us that we DO give. True we are rich and richly blessed by God but we do give - could we give more? I suppose but if we follow scripture and give as we purpose in our hearts then its a covenant between God and me that I need to live up to. Its all about compassion I guess and being willing to give. God loves a cheerful giver...

Tim B. said...

Perhaps the most difficult passage of Scripture for me to live out is Matthew 6:23-34, in which Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow and what we will eat or wear. My flesh simply will not allow me to truly believe it. My mind acknowledges the truth of the statement, but my heart does not follow. Surely, if we truly believed Jesus, it would enable us to hold things a little less lightly and to give more readily to anyone who was in need, even when it costs us more than we deem prudent. God will take care of us tomorrow. He promises us that.