Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. The Book of Acts 2:45
If there was ever a passage that ran counter to our culture of accumulation then this is it. The first generation of followers of Jesus made sure that no one who was a part of their new found family of faith ever lacked the basic necessities of life. Nobody in that first church in Jerusalem ever went without a meal, or a roof over their head, or a cloak to ward off the cold. They did not have all of their wants and desires met but they did have all of their needs met. In essence what was taking place is that God was working through His people to fulfill the prayer that said, “Give us this day our daily bread”.
Anyone who had something extra turned that extra into a blessing for others. People who had some property, sold the property to buy food for people who were hungry. People sold furniture and bought clothing for people who had threadbare garments. Those who had homes opened those homes to others who had none and took them in, fed them and made them part of the family. The list of acts of kindness is a varied as the life situations people found themselves in.
Given that this is such a radical act we must ask the question, why did they do it? Why would people sacrifice their own comfort and security for the sake of others? Let’s be honest. Most of us are willing to give out of our excess to people in need. We are willing to give out of our comfort as long as it does not cause any real discomfort for us. Most of our “sacrificing” for the sake of others is really not much of a sacrifice. We give away that which we would never miss anyway. So what caused those first followers of Jesus to be so provocative?
Let me answer that question by first asking you a question. If your son or daughter was suddenly homeless and out of a job would you open your home to them, even if it meant their spouse and children moving in for a undetermined amount of time? I suspect the answer is yes and I know that some of you have done just that. If not that exactly you have done something similar for a family member. And that is the point. Those early followers of Jesus understood that they were ALL family. Calling one another brother or sister in Christ was not some religious platitude. They really meant it. If God was indeed their father and Jesus was their brother, then they were all family. That meant taking care of one another as family. You sacrifice for family. You go without so family can have their needs met. You do it because you love your family. Jesus said that the world will know that we are His family, His disciples, by the love we have for one another.
What a difference it would make if we lived out that example today. People in the first century became followers of Jesus because they saw the love the first Christians had for one another. It would be no different today. If we in the church showed that kind of love for each other you would see a revival unlike any thing you could ever imagine. Not only that. You would see a smile on the face of Jesus because His brothers and sisters had finally figured out how to be family.