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 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 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Verse 33-35 (NIV)
As a young believer I felt very strongly about the concept of helping one another within the church. If we are brothers and sisters together then of course we must look out for one another’s needs. As life moved on, I began to realise that it was not as easy to do the caring for others needs as it was saying and thinking it. It was clear that some people would take advantage of those with means and good hearts. It was also clear that some needs could not be met just by handing out resources.
This New Testament Church was very new and learning how to navigate the uncertainties of life. So, the spiritual thing to do was to care for those in need, to act toward them the way that Jesus would have done. More important however, was the spirit that drove that response. They were a small group in a rather hostile environment, and they wanted to protect one another. They were newly banned together by the resurrection of Jesus and a whole new understanding of God’s love. They were united together in their love and adoration of Jesus. The idea of sacrifice and standing together with and for one another was incredibly strong, modeled by Jesus himself. In short, they loved one another with the love of Jesus and from that love, they learned how to care for one another so that no one was in need.
The church today does reach out to one another and to our community. Perhaps we need to examine why we reach out to help. In a world and culture that is so focused on self, is our motivation coming from a spirit of love and concern or are we just doing our “duty” as the church?
Perhaps we need to capture once again what it means to be a true follower of Jesus, to be part of the body of Christ, and working together in unity and love. Let’s serve wholeheartedly and with compassion.
Lord, thank you for always meeting our needs. May your grace and love inspire us to care like Jesus. In Jesus. Amen.