Sharing Shows Brotherly-Love

The closer to sharing a person comes, the closer to God he gets. Sharing has nothing to do with wealth . . . Sharing has nothing to do with health . . . Sharing has everything to do with attitude!  (Jerry Falwell). … More

Sharing
Some have referred to this portion of Scripture as the origin of today’s communism. It is nothing of the kind. It didn’t involve all private property, but only as much as was needed and there was no membership requirement. The spiritual unity and generosity of these early Christians attracted others to them. What these believers did was purely voluntary (5:4) and was motivated by love (vv. 32-37). Two things can be noted about this:
  1. They had an intense sense of responsibility for each other. 
  2. This awoke in them a real desire to share all they had. We must note one thing above all—this sharing was not the result of legislation; it was utterly spontaneous. It is not when the law compels us to share, but when the heart moves us to share, that society is Christian.
We should not get the idea that every believer sold all his goods and brought the money to the apostles. It indicates that some of the members “from time to time” sold various pieces of property and voluntarily gave it to the apostles to be distributed to those in need (v. 34). The distribution was not made equally, but according to need. The state was not coercing them into a share and share-alike program. The Christians did what they did out of a heart of love, “of one heart and one soul” (v. 32). These are not communistic principles, but a display of Christian charity at its finest.
While the early Church’s spirit of sacrifice and loving generosity is something for us to seriously consider, it is not something we are required to imitate today. The principles of Christian giving are outlined for us in the epistles (II Cor. 8-9); and nowhere are we instructed to bring our money and lay it at the feet of the leaders of the Church as though they were apostles (v. 35). It is the spirit of their giving that is important to us today, and not so much the methods they used.

Application

It is not easy for me to share what the Lord has given to me with others. I need to be looking for ways I can share my faith. It may be transporting people to church in my car, or keeping people in our home for a few days. Is there some needy person I could reach out to this week?

Acts 4:32-37 (English Standard Version)

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

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