READ: Acts 4:32-37
- The early church was accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6). Kavin Rowe calls his book on Acts, World Upside Down. The followers of Jesus were so different and acted so differently that people didn’t know what to do with them. They turned the values of the local cultures on their heads and often did the opposite of what most would have expected them to do. That was seen not the least in the realm of their generosity.
- In the weeks following the day of Pentecost when 3,000 people became believers, many personal needs arose among those believers. While the text doesn’t say why, it’s easy to speculate that they lost jobs, their families disowned them, and/or their new allegiance to Jesus removed them from positions of influence or employment. Whatever the reasons, there were multiple opportunities to demonstrate a new sense of identity, and a new sense of community.
- Part of the power of the new church was its ability to rise to the occasion. They began to meet the needs of their new brothers and sisters. So much so that Acts could record, “there wasn’t a needy person among them.” Not that there were no needy people, but that supplies were “distributed to each as any had need.” Since the state took no responsibility for the poor, and since they had left their Jewish community (who did care for the poor), survival meant dependence upon their new community.
- Describe a time when you were dependent on help for survival. What was it like?
- Do you think you could/would abandon all sources of help in order to follow Jesus?
- Who are the needy among your circles? You? Friends?
PRAY: Ask God to make you aware of the needs of others. Pray for those who live a day by day existence. Pray that the church becomes community through our Connect groups.