Acts 4:32-37 (CEV)
Sharing Possessions The group of followers all felt the same way about everything. None of them claimed that their possessions were their own, and they shared everything they had with each other. In a powerful way the apostles told everyone that the Lord Jesus was now alive. God greatly blessed his followers, and no one went in need of anything. Everyone who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles. Then they would give the money to anyone who needed it. Joseph was one of the followers who had sold a piece of property and brought the money to the apostles. He was a Levite from Cyprus, and the apostles called him Barnabas, which means “one who encourages others.”
Note the flow of this passage. We are told how the group of followers shared with one another everything they had – THEN we are told that they shared the Gospel in a powerful way.
Many commentators reflect on the communitarian features of the early church – and then talk about their preaching being powered by some special filling of the Holy Spirit – as if the two things were separate.
I wonder if that is the best way to understand this.
Could it not be that the action of the Holy Spirit leads them to a sharing and giving lifestyle – and that it is that lifestyle that gives their Gospel-sharing words power?
This rings true to our own experience, doesn’t it? My words only really have power if the listener perceives that they are LIVED words – or to use older language – that I practice what I preach.
So what is God trying to say to me this morning? I think it might be this:
Hey – Phil – If you are not living a Christlike life, all of your words sound hollow and there is no extra power I can give you to make them less so. Get on with the task of living a Christlike life, though, and your words will be infused with all the power I can offer you.
(or summat like that!)