Acts 2:41-47 - Resolutions (Part 6)


Posted Friday, December 31, 2010 at 8:59 AM

“Now all the believers were together and had everything in common. So they sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had need.”
(Acts 2:44-45)

To this point, we've talked about the message that the early Christians received, the activities to which they devoted themselves, and the attitude of humility and fear that permeated their lives. In these verses, we see a combination of devotion to the fellowship and a proper importance placed upon their possessions. The early Christians believed and acted as though the physical needs of the entire group were more important than the accumulation of possessions and property for oneself. They were good stewards, they understood that everything that they had was given to them by God and that they did not “own” it.

So what does this passage mean for us? Well, thankfully we are in a group where everyone's basic needs are being met: food, shelter, clothes, and other essentials. As far as I can tell, God has blessed our group to where a lot of the things we feel we “need”, we really just want. So the immediate lesson for us from this passage is that if someone in our group ever has a need that's going unmet, God has placed that responsibility on us first. We must place the proper importance on one another's well-being so that none of is hindered from growing spiritually.

Is that all we are to take from this passage? I don't think so. First, as was mentioned yesterday, you have to put the proper importance on your possessions; your possessions are less important than God and other people. Second, we must learn to steward our possessions and not “own” them. This is a very contrary idea to the way our culture acts, but we must view our things as though they belong to God and are to be used for His glory. This includes our income, which plays itself out first by tithing. There is no better way that we show that what we have is God's than by giving a percentage of our regular income as a tithe. Tithing is a reminder that everything that we have is God's. Another way we can be good stewards of our possessions is to manage them in a way that we can give to those who need it. A general approach to this is to understand how much of something we actually need or use, so that it is available to give away when the opportunity presents itself (e.g. giving blankets for the homeless, canned goods for the food pantry, money to an organization that is doing God's work in a place where we can't, etc.). There are numerous ways to approach and use your possessions as though they were God's, and I can't attempt to list them (or pretend that I could list them), let the Holy Spirit guide you in these decisions.

So as we approach the new year and begin to make resolutions for ourselves (as is our modern day tradition), what possible resolutions can we derive from these early Christians:
  1. Pray for those in our life group. Be prepared to meet our needs, if they arise.
  2. Tithe with the understanding that all you have is God's.
  3. Become a better steward of what you have:
    • Learn to manage your possessions with the understanding that God “owns” it.
    • Look for opportunities to use your possessions and income to honor God.

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