We have seen in Acts 2:42 how the early church devoted their time to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread together, and prayer. Usually when discussing the five purpose of the Church, we will drop down to verses 46-47 and add worship (which we will talk about later), but there is something else that the early church did that’s hard to ignore. That was selling off their resources and giving them to everyone that had need. Honestly, this passage is probably one of the hardest for me to swallow. When I read this, it is hard not to think about a commune. I visited one in Chicago once. There were people of all walks of life living together in large building with many rooms and pooling their resources together. Although it was a novel idea, I was not ready to sign up.
Communal living aside, I do believe there is something we should learn from the early church’s example in giving. I would have to say that the early church were quick, prompt to do it, cheerful givers. Also, they obviously saw the needs of others in their community and were moved with compassion to do something about it. This was ingrained in the early church. I don’t see references to the communal style living elsewhere in the New Testament, but one thing that did not go away was giving to the poor and needy. Acts covers a lot of ground over several years. Years later, Paul gives us some inside information into a meeting he and Barnabas had with Peter, James, and John where it was decided that Peter would be the apostle to the Jews and Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. At this meeting, the apostles gave unto Paul and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship and sent them away on their missionary journey with only one stipulation. Here it was: “Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do (Gal. 2:10).”
Giving to those in need should be ingrained in us as well since we are cut from the same cloth. We can’t say we have the love of God in us and shut up our bowels to those in need (1 John 3:17). Let us pray today, that God would unite us in our giving again and move us with compassion to give to those in need.