All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
- Acts 2:44-45
Yesterday we looked at the challenge that growth presented to the early church. Thousands of people from far off cities join the church, want to stay in Jerusalem, and need help finding jobs and homes. What did the believers respond?
They shared what they had. They made sacrifices. They demonstrated generosity. They reprioritized. All of them.
Today’s passage doesn’t depict something as simple as charity. It’s tempting to read the passage and think that what we see here is the wealthy in Jerusalem liquidating assets to accommodate their new spiritual brethren. But the passage doesn’t say that.
The pilgrims would have come to Jerusalem with resources. Perhaps they would have purchased seed for their farms back home or souvenirs of their journey. They would have funds that they planned to use to finance their journey home. And back home they might have had land that carried value.
The selling and sharing we see in today’s passage would have included pilgrims and locals alike (see Acts 4:36-37). Everyone had a role to play.
When we engage God’s mission, we all have a role to play. We all have opportunities to share and sacrifice. We all have opportunities to demonstrate generosity.
Reading this may make us nervous because passages like this have been used by religious figures to swindle and manipulate good-hearted and faithful people. But let’s not let the bad example of those swindlers keep us from engaging with God’s mission.
Today’s passage is good news to us. With growth comes challenge. And over and over again history has demonstrated that God’s people with God’s help can rise to the challenges that come when God’s Spirit brings growth.
Where have you experienced God helping you to rise to a challenge? Where have you seen a Christian community rise to a challenge that was presented by growth? Is there a situation right in front of you where God is calling you to make a sacrifice in order to participate in his larger work and mission?