August 25, 2011
"All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had." Acts 4:32
Yesterday my husband and I received a substantial monetary gift in the mail—anonymously. No signature. No return address. Only a card reading, "God laid it on our hearts to send you this." What causes a person to give generously—and anonymously—to another person? Faithful obedience.
Acts 2 describes a time when the early church began to form. Christ had risen from the dead, appeared to hundreds of individuals, and ascended back to heaven leaving believers with the promise of His return. Scripture tells us that upon hearing the Good News believers everywhere devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals. They met together in one place and shared everything they had (Acts 2:44-45). "There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need" (Acts 4:34-35).
The early believers recognized that all they had came from God, and they were eager to share what they had in order to meet every need. These men and women who gave so generously understood that God never asked us to take care of ourselves. God asks us to love Him first, and to love others as we love ourselves. Not to love ourselves. But to love others as ourselves. God promises that if we do these things, He will meet our needs (Matthew 6:33). God promises to supply all our needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
I stand fully aware of what God's Word says. But do I heed His message? Faithful obedience places the needs of others, and the desire to please God, above the concern for self. Am I willing to step out in faith, to give freely to another person in need, trusting my Father in Heaven, who sees what is done in secret, to reward me? That kind of obedience takes faith—great faith—that God will indeed do all that He says He will do.
To the person (or persons) who heeded God's gentle nudging of your heart, know that you have blown us away by your faithful obedience to Him. Know that we have asked Him to pour down on your head His abundant blessings. And know that from this point forward I will analyze all handwriting samples in attempt to identify you so that I can place a big fat hug around your neck! I pray that God will grant me with the ears to hear and the faith to obey a similar call.
Feel free to leave a comment sharing a time when another believer generously shared all they had (whether it be time, money, a caring heart) with you.