Read Acts 4:32-36
“All the believers were of one heart and mind… they shared everything they had…. God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all, there was no needy person among them”.
No needy person among them?! It sounds like a pipe dream. A nice Biblical story, but not realistic to today. How could we ever get to a place where there is no needy person amongst us? Well, there must be no greedy person among us. But how do we address the greed and selfishness that seems so inherent to our hearts? Try harder? Give more so we can assuage our guilt? Pledge to not buy any more consumeristic items? We must ask, “How did these new believers get to this place where they freely sold houses, land and possessions to ensure no one was suffering around them. Sounds like a nice sentiment but how could we ever be like that practically?”
1. “God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them.” This is where it all emanates from. When we reflect and truly bask in the grace of God, we can then come to understand that we were once in the greatest of need, by our own sin and failure, and God gave His most cherished possession, His Son, to overcome our steep need for salvation. The word ‘grace’ means ‘gift’. The great gift of God, was freely given and freely received based on no merit of our own.
2. “No one claimed that any possessions was their own.” Once we recognize God’s grace as a free gift that we have not earned and never deserved, then we can come to a place in our hearts that recognizes all things are a free gift of the creator God. Nothing is ours. Not our money, or homes, or even our loved ones. God’s grace isn’t a one-time gift but one that is ‘powerfully (continually) at work within us’. When we allow this reality into our hearts on a daily basis, it allows us to release the fear that leads our hearts to cling to ‘our stuff’ in greed.
3. “All believers were of one heart and mind”. We are so divided by differences. In our worldly way of doing life, there are levels and statuses. There are those who have earned their position and those who deserve their lowly position. But God’s grace levels all of our human divisions. Before God we all stand equally needy and all have been elevated with Christ by His free gift alone. This not only makes us all the same and all equally deserving of his love, but it also should unite us as brothers and sisters desiring to see that there is no needy amongst us. I am now connected with others. I should now be able to empathize with anyone in a lowly, needy position because I am that before God. When another hurts, my heart should hurt. When another is suffering, I should mentally be in anguish for them as well. It is God’s grace that makes us all the same in our levels of need and it then beckons us to love one another the way we have been loved.
To extinguish the greediness of our hearts, we must remember each day that it is only God’s grace that fills the neediness of our hearts.
Try to implement a daily practice of remembering God’s grace and the fact that nothing you have is yours. All has been freely created and given by God.
Next, consider a way that you can begin to live more freely and more generously with God’s gifts of grace, trusting that God will continually meet the need within you.