S174P8 – The early Church: belonging to nothing

Acts 4:32-34a

All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.

The video shows a mother telling her young son that she accidentally ate all of his candy.  Initially, the boy of four or five years cannot believe his ears.  He keeps saying that she must be joking, but she insists that she is not.  As the charade continues, his little face becomes sadder and sadder.  For a moment you think he is about to cry, then something changes.  He realizes how sorry his mother is for what she claims to have done, and he feels the need to comfort her.  He smiles and extends his hand, and he tells her that he is not mad at her for eating his sweets.  He tells her it does not matter because it is only candy.  Those sweets were much less important than keeping mom happy.

When I was that age, I would have been crushed to find that someone else had eaten my candy.  Reason being, I did not understand how minor that issue is.  As an adult, I take ownership just as seriously, and many of us do.  However, we cannot forget that we are not owners but stewards.  That can be difficult to put into practice, especially when we receive things from God that are gifts and blessings.  It can be even more difficult when the possessions we are asked to share or give up are not as small or inexpensive as a few sweets.  What the early Church understood was that everything God had given them was for them, all of them.  None withheld anything from another.

The thing about ownership is that it can create unhealthy attachments that the Lord never intended.  When God blesses a family with a home, it certainly is for their use, but it also is for them to bless others.  It is no different with our cars and our finances.  This is not a call for us to give it all away and leave ourselves with nothing, but it is a call for us to reevaluate our generosity, particularly with regard to the Church.  What God has given to us, He has given to us.  We must be sufficiently detached and flexible with our belongings to live like we do not belong to them.  Father, increase in us or generosity and our understanding of stewardship, that we would care for the Church as we care for ourselves.