God Loves the Communal Giver

Imagine “the full number of those who believe” being “of one heart and soul” with “not a needy person among them.” (Acts 4:32,34; ESV) No one among them says “that any of the things that belong to him is his own.” Instead “they have everything in common.” (Acts 4:32) If any one of them is an owner of land or house, he “sells them and brings the proceeds of what is sold and lays it at the apostles’ feet, and it is distributed to each as any has need.” (Acts 4:34,35)

God loves the cheerful giver; not that the one giving should then find himself in need, but that each person is able to meet his obligations.

Within this context of sharing one’s personal property among the body of believers, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira sell a piece of property and rather than give the entire purchase price to the apostles for distribution, they secretly withhold a portion for themselves. In doing this, Ananias and Sapphira “lie to the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 5:3) They are free to not sell the property, and even to keep part of the proceeds; what they are not free to do is lie to God.

When Peter confronts Ananias, Ananias “falls down and breathes his last.” (Acts 5:5) Three hours later, Sapphira comes to the apostles, “not knowing what has happened.” (Acts 5:7) When Peter asks her about the purchase price, she also “tests the Spirit of the Lord” by lying. (Acts 5:9) Sapphira joins her husband in death.

“And great fear comes upon the whole church and upon all who hear of these things.” (Acts 5:11)

Father God, thank You for Your enormous generosity. Help us to be willing to give to one another above and beyond. Keep us honest, Lord with You, with ourselves and with one another. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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2 thoughts on “God Loves the Communal Giver

  1. mtsweat says:

    Guess this one will strike a nerve against our infatuation with materialism, Carley. And how true! If we want to see a picture of how little the church in America resembles the church Jesus is building, just take a quick snapshot of the average home and lifestyle of professing believers. Follow us through a day in our lives. Watch how we spend our incomes. And unfortunately, witnessing the horrid suffering that takes place in two-thirds of our world, watch how little we’re willing to part with to meet those needs. I fear the words, “To whom much is given…” is about to be the words of condemnation against a self-centered and self-righteous nation who has put forth a great effort to suppress the knowledge of our God. We can only pray that God will intervene with mercy and grace. And even if He chooses to bring this nation to its knees, that too is a display of His love. In much suffering and persecution, the greatest revivals of history were bred. Thanks and God bless for your faithfulness to the Truth (Jesus).

    • lambskinny says:

      mtsweat, for as much as we capitalists rail against communism, when reading the 4th chapter of the Book of Acts, it’s difficult not to see communism at its ideal level — sharing everything in common so that no one individual is in need, and yes — no one individual is wealthy beyond belief. The churches today — at least the ones I’ve been to — in no way resemble the churches of the early disciples. Neither does capitalism, nor does communism.

      Sharing doesn’t come naturally to most people — and we no longer know our neighbors well enough to even be aware that they have needs; or we know them just well enough to be wary of them. Strangers take advantage, constantly asking for money for this ministry or that orphanage or that mission trip, or that — whatever.

      Yet, Jesus clearly tells us to give; and that the measure we use is the measure we may expect to receive or not receive. I find my own note quite convicting. God bless you, brother.

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