A daily devotion for May 13th
The Believers Share Their Possessions
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.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”),
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. Acts 4:32
This is a beautiful glimpse of what life was like in the early church. After the dramatic events of the day of Pentecost, the healing of the lame man, and the great response of multitudes in Jerusalem, the church faced life in the world of that day — a world of darkness, despair, and death on every side — and met it with a flowing out of the life of Jesus Christ. This is ideal Christianity, true, genuine Christianity. Unfortunately there is also a counterfeit Christianity. It came in shortly after this in the early church, and evidences of it will be seen throughout the book of Acts. Wherever the true church has gone throughout the world, counterfeit Christianity has gone right along with it.
Counterfeit Christianity can be recognized externally as a kind of religious club where people, largely of the same social status or class, and bound together by a mutual interest in some religious project or program, meet together to advance that particular cause. But that is a far cry from true Christianity which consists of individuals who share the same divine life, who are made up of all ages, backgrounds, classes, and status-levels of society, and who, when meeting together, regard themselves as what they really are — brothers and sisters in one family. But of that mutual background of love and fellowship they manifest the life of Jesus Christ.
That is what we have here. The key idea is community, commonness, everything in common. They were of one heart and mind. The word
heart is used for the human spirit. It denotes the deepest part of our life. It is the unconscious level of existence, the spirit, the most essential part of our nature. Here were people who, by the Holy Spirit, had been united into one life. They were of one heart. At the very deepest level of their lives they belonged to each other, and that is only possible by means of the Holy Spirit. They did not need to have met someone before to recognize that if he or she is a Christian they belong to each other, they are of the same family and they always have a vast area in common. This was true of these people.
Not only did they have it, but it also manifested itself in the fact that everyone had a new attitude toward the material life. This is not a forced distribution of goods. It is not an attempt to make everyone give up their material things and redistribute them to others. No, it is a change of attitude, saying,
Nothing that I possess is mine, for my exclusive use, but everything that I possess is God's, and therefore it is available to anyone who needs it. So here were these early Christians, one in heart and mind and body, united together. That is the church as it ought to be.
Father, thank you for the renewed life being imparted to your body. How true it is that it flows through the interchange of those who belong to one another, made so by the life of Jesus Christ which we share, brothers and sisters together in Christ.
Life Application: What can I as a member of Christ's body do to facilitate community among my fellow believers? Do I realize the importance of oneness as members together under the Headship of Christ, the Lord of the Church?
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