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No One Was Needy

In Acts 4:32-35 (NIV), we read about the early believers, being astounded if we’re honest, by what we read. “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. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”

We might be inclined to say that we wish things could be that way now. But do we? Can we imagine it? Well, we say, it was different back then. It was shortly after the resurrection, and excitement and commitment surely ruled. Believers thought that Jesus was coming again soon, so why worry at all about saving for the future?

But it was still a remarkable time. In our world where there are billions of needy people who live in extreme poverty and go hungry everyday, what is said in Acts 4 (“there were no needy persons among them”) can cause a good case of whiplash if we don’t see it coming. I suspect that if the early believers were able to see our world with the extreme poverty and hunger in juxtaposition to our extreme wealth, they would be subject to a good case of whiplash.

We often say that it’s important to do what the Bible says. Don’t water it down. Don’t interpret it away. Read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the Acts of the Apostles and then ask, “Are we doing what the Bible says?” I’m pretty sure that the answer to that question is “No.” It’s dangerous to get on our high horse, so let’s get off while we can.

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