32 All the believers were agreed in heart and mind. They didn’t claim that anything they had was their own. Instead, they shared everything they owned. 33 With great power the apostles continued their teaching. They were telling people that the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead. And God’s grace was working powerfully in all of them. 34 So there were no needy persons among them. From time to time, those who owned land or houses sold them. They brought the money from the sales. 35 They put it down at the apostles’ feet. It was then given out to anyone who needed it. 36 Joseph was a Levite from Cyprus. The apostles called him Barnabas. The name Barnabas means Son of Help. 37 Barnabas sold a field he owned. He brought the money from the sale. He put it down at the apostles’ feet.
I can never escape from seeing the powerful expression of relationship, and community, that is described in this text. There is such a beautiful trust, generosity, and security amidst this group of early believers. I’m sure things were not without difficulty and problem, but this description of church community stirs very powerfully the desires of my heart for real community. It makes simple sense – when people are generous and lend freely to one another, all barriers to relationship and challenges to authenticity come crumbling down.
No pretending. No hiding. No self-protecting or self-preserving. Open generosity. Free sharing. No one needy. Free distribution of generous giving to those in need. Beautiful!!! I am inspired and exercised by this text – if the Spirit of God brought such authentic community about in the first century AD, who am I to say it can’t happen again…and again…and again! I can see this text as an exhortation to me from the Spirit of God; “I am the same Spirit who indwelt these believers as I am in you and your people Rob. I can bring it about in an authentic and 21st Century way. I just need you to trust me. Seek me. And allow me to take the lead.”
God Almighty, no one can stop what you start. No one can thwart what you author. You will complete what you begin. You began your church over 2000 years ago, and you have every intention of completing this beautiful community. Making it glorious. God, I give myself completely to you, and say, “show me what I’ve got to do to bring this vision of authentic, generous, secure community about.” I want it, and I believe every human being deeply desires it. But I’m not going to avoid being responsible – I choose to do ask you what I must do to bring it about. Take my lead Lord!”
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh