May 31, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Cathy Park, Gracepoint Davis

Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-37

Again, in these passages we see that genuine spirituality resulted in sharing of goods and money.  If this description of concrete generosity was missing in Acts 2 & 4, how different would our response be to the life of the early church?  Or, how different would our reaction be if the early church was devoted to the Apostle’s teaching and to prayer, etc., but each person or family continued to keep all their money for themselves?

One of the most obvious and visible characteristics of a person who claims to have genuine spirituality should be their increasing freedom regarding possessions and being able to let go of money, resulting in sharing of goods.  It makes sense that the natural and inevitable result of genuine spirituality should be letting go of material things, since after all, by definition, being a spiritual person means to see the unseen things as supremely more important than the visible things.  (2 Cor. 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”)

Ultimately, as Jesus said so clearly in Matt. 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”  Therefore, it is impossible for us to love God and also love money at the same time.  This means that as a person increases in his or her love for God, it will inevitably result in less hold on money.

To the degree that a person has less hold on money, the more the person will be able to love.  Loving means to notice and provide for someone’s needs.  A person who is worried about the balance on his or her bank account dipping below a certain level or someone who gets anxious when he/she is not being able to put away money consistently into his or her retirement plan would find the seemingly insatiable needs of people around them in a close-knit community as a nuisance and a bother to their plans to secure money and possessions.

If this kind of concrete generosity had been missing in the early church, our response to the life of the early church would have been tepid.  Even if the church had been very devoted to the apostles’ teaching and to prayer, and they spent a lot of time together, our response to the early church would not be one of awe and longing to emulate (as the model church that we desire to emulate in our present day) apart from the picture of the generosity and selfless giving as seen in the early church.  It is because ultimately, when all is said and done, the power of the early church rested in the undeniable fact that they considered their possessions as something to be shared and not withheld.  When it comes down to it, talk is cheap, and love cannot be expressed apart from concrete actions to meet the needs of people around us.  All the teachings and prayers would seem empty and hollow if the people of the church had been, at the end of the day, considering their possession as their own, their lifestyle as their own business, and didn’t care about the needs of others.

Conversely, a person who loves God and is increasing in their spiritual view of life will be able to be more generous and free with money, as I have seen it time and time again through people in this community.  One thing that impacted me when I first came as a freshman to our church and realized that the spirituality that I saw here was genuine was when I saw time and time again people who had light grip on their material possession and who freely gave to others as they saw needs.  It was something so refreshing and shocking to me, as it was so different from what I saw out in this world and in the churches I have gone to.  Seeing people pool money together buy someone who was in dire need a replacement car, freely opening up their homes and refrigerators, giving and lending each other valuable possessions like cars, laptops and money freely made me realize that these people really believed what they said they believed.  It is something that I have been personally trying to emulate and also saw myself grow in as I began to mature spiritually and see things from God’s perspective – that the most important thing is this world is not material possessions, but people.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Response