Day 8: Acts 4:32-35
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
The political ideal of socialism gives many in our culture great anxiety. As Americans, we greatly value independence and autonomy. We are suspicious of any system in which we would give up the rights to the money and possessions that we have earned to another who would then make decisions on how those funds and assets would be distributed. We are suspicious of such systems because we have seen corruption throughout history, plaguing systems of socialism and communism both in secular society and in religious circles.
The writer of the book of Acts, however, wants us to consider the purity of the early church community in which “no one claimed private ownership of any possessions.” Numerous times in Acts we find the members of the early church giving up their rights to and ownership of their resources to the church community in order that those in need might be taken care of, and that those who were proclaiming the gospel and dedicating themselves to the work of the church might also be provided for.
We tend to think that a call to tithe 10% is asking a lot, but the early church didn’t have a system of 10% - they had a system of 100%. They trusted each other, and they trusted God that He would provide for their communities and families as they had need. They were guided by a spirit of generosity and a hope of abundance rather than a fear of scarcity.
I pray that the Holy Spirit would take away our spirit of fear and anxiety, and renew in us a spirit of hope and generosity.
Jonathan Burkey | Worship Pastor, Lima Community Church