Often times we take our Christian community for granted, don’t we? We just assume that everybody will be there the next time we gather and that they will have been just fine since the last time we saw them. We seldom stop to think about other people’s day to day and what they might need help with/in. In Acts 4.32-37 we see a community that went to great lengths to make sure that everyone had what everyone needed:
“The group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but everything was held in common. With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. For there was no one needy among them because those who were owners of land or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds from the sales and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds were distributed to each, as anyone had need. So Joseph, a Levite who was a native of Cyprus, called by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and placed it at the apostles’ feet”.
This is another great example of Acts being descriptive and not prescriptive. We are not all called to sell any fields that we own and donate the money (vv.36-37). If you want to, sure, then do as you feel led. But as a general commandment for all believers, no. This community had just radically exploded into existence and now those in the community needed to take radical steps to make sure they could accommodate and care for everyone that was present (vv.34-35).
The principle for you and for me is that we contribute to the community (cf. Exodus 35, 1 Corinthians 1.19) ¹ . How you contribute is between you and the Lord, but everyone should. Everyone here in Acts 4 was concerned about everyone else. Nobody took for granted that the other would be ok, they went out of their way to make sure of it.
The source of this kind of unity and love and concern was the great grace that comes into our lives through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Only when we have truth of this magnitude in our lives, only when we come to see the kind of life-changing truth that Jesus is do we want to radically change our normal fleshly ways of thinking about one another and genuinely want to provide for one another.