Acts 4:32-35 The believers were united in heart…..they shared everything they had…..there were no needy people among them.
Whoa! Can you imagine the society at the time of the apostles? Believers shared everything they had with each other! Can you imagine what society would be like if we did that today?
Let’s take health care as an example. When I spend time in the USA, I see many people who have lost everything they own because of no health care. Their lives are devastated. Then I listen as I hear people argue against some form of public health care. I’ve actually heard people say, “Why should I pay for someone else’s health care?” In Canada, we have public health care, but many aspects of health care are not covered by the government. There are also people here (albeit not as many), who lose their life savings when a health crisis happens. How different would North America look if we all pooled our resources to look after each other’s health and social needs?
Where does Christianity figure into this issue? There was a time when the church was the sole supporter of the poor. In the past century, governments have gradually taken that role away from churches. Unfortunately, Governments can’t operate as cheaply or efficiently as churches can. The reality is that selfishness and greed always seem to rise to the surface when it comes to helping out our neighbors. Then there is always the question of fairness. Perhaps governments have more standardized ways of operating that don’t discriminate, an unfortunate charge against churches and private charities. Its a modern dilemma, both for the church and society.
But what about me as a believer? Am I willing to sell all I have and give everything to the poor? (Matthew 19:21) Honestly, no. I’ve been programmed to plan for my future and take care of number one first. I might need that nest egg down the road. I know Jesus said that God takes care of the sparrows, so he will also take care of me. (Matthew 6:26). Is my faith weak? Obviously I’m a long ways off from the ideal that Christ described in these discussions with his apostles. However, do I try to help others in need when I can? Yes, but perhaps not as much as I should.
In other passages, Jesus tells us to be wise with our money, saving and investing our time, money, and talents in such a way that God would be pleased with our decisions (Matthew 25). Jesus also told us clearly to help the poor among us. But he was also clear about our attitude in doing so. We are to be humble, having an attitude of servant hood, and when possible to help anonymously (Matthew 6).
So often I have been in the position of helping others, but rarely have I done it from the position of true servitude. I have done things and helped others because I had to, or because it was the right things to do, and sometimes because it looked good to others. My attitude in giving has often been self-centered or goal-oriented. Forgive me for this.
Help me to be a true servant of others: to help for no motivation, no self-interest, anonymously, out of a giving and loving heart. Help me to have an attitude of a true servant. I must always remember that I am no better than anyone else, only different. Each person I meet has needs. Help me to listen more to your voice, so that I can be a blessing to each person I meet.
In Jesus Name.