now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. [acts 4:32]
commonism. not communism.
a lot of critics take this verse and dismiss christianity out of hand because they claim it suggests a kingdom where no one can own anything. that everything is taken away. they claim that it smells of tyrannical rule where those at the top get everything while the commoners starve.
but the beauty of the gospel and the effect of the gospel is foolishness to those who don’t believe. [1 cor 1:23] look at the beauty that comes from a community where Christ is the center! where the Spirit is moving!
the full number – this is very specific wording that says not one believer was unmoved in this way by the Spirit. every single believer. there was no “well, generosity is not my gift.” there was no, “God would rather i keep my possession as an inheritance for my children.” every believer. [2 cor 9:11]
of those who believed – we will see later that there were some among them who were fascinated by the movement and appeared to be all in, but their unbelief cannot be hidden from the Holy Spirit and will be made known to all. true belief is marked by true repentance, true heart change, and true love. [james 2:18]
were of one heart and soul – unity within the body comes from a sharing of the Holy Spirit. in a community where there is much diversity in background, in preferences, in ideology, the body of Christ is united in Christ through the Holy Spirit. this trumps all differences. hostility is replaced by hospitality! we are one! [eph 2:11-22]
no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common – what a beautiful picture of freedom! this doesn’t mean that everyone got rid of everything they owned, but they were not grasping any of it. they met the needs of their neighbors, they pooled their resources to care for their brothers, and they were not burdened with anxiety or fear that God would not meet their own needs! holding loosely the things they had. living life together in a way that led to such joy and love and thanksgiving. [phil 4:19]
so what about you? how do you hold the things that God has given you? are they yours? or have you given them up to the Lord, who already owns it all anyway? in what ways are you caring for the body like we see here in the early church? do you know the body well enough to know its needs?
holding loosely to our possessions is a beautiful act of worship, but it can also just be another check list item that we strive for in our own strength in order to gain favor or justify ourselves. so look at these questions as indicators of deeper heart issues, not as a way to feel shame or guilt! there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! [rom 8:1] pray for freedom! the Spirit will move!
Father, you are the Creator of all things, and all things are yours alone. thank you for providing everything we need. help us to be free from the love of money. help us to find our security, our comfort, and our delight in you. give us your generous heart. give us joy in Christ. give us unity in the body, a love for your bride, and a oneness in your Spirit. please, God, we trust you to move!