Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul – the full number – that is quite a statement of unity. The full number – all of those who believed – were of one heart and soul. This is exactly what Jesus had prayed for the BOB (Bunch of Believers) who made up the church – that they may all be one (John 17:20).
This “one heart and soul” was demonstrated by generosity. They did not hold tightly to their possessions and they freely disposed of things in order to meet another’s need. They traded in the need to cling to earthly belongings in exchange for spiritual power and great grace. In fact generosity is listed as a gift of grace in Romans 12.
Some read this passage and think of Communism but that is not what I see.
• I don’t see people just divesting themselves of their stuff so that no one owned anything. I do see the idea of making their stuff available to everyone.
• I don’t see everyone who had a house or property selling it so they all lived together in equal little apartments. I do see individuals seeing a house or property as something they could use to raise some cash to give to the Disciples Sharing Fund.
One example of the latter was Barnabas. I think this is likely the same Barnabas we’ll read about later in Acts. I would expect a man “called the son of encouragement” might do something like this. (The people I know who have the gift of encouragement are often the first to give because of the inspiration it might offer others.)
Generosity like this does not come naturally. (I’d say that was a keen grasp of the obvious!) We typically lean more toward a mindset of scarcity*….there may not be enough to go around so you better hold on to what you have. A scarcity mentality is based in fear and, in terms of spiritual things, it is rooted in faithlessness.
The flipside of scarcity is abundance. Jesus said I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 1-:10) And there are a zillion other verses that tell me God is ready, willing and able to meet whatever need I may have. This brand new church was living out their faith and expecting God would provide for them. It resulted in unclenched fists and open hearts. (I believe, to the extent I practice the mindset of abundance*, this first century kind of generosity will grow in my life.)
(*I first heard this concept of abundance vs scarcity in Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. While the book is not intentionally spiritual I believe Covey was an exceedingly principled man who sought God’s truth and then applied it to his own life and life’s work.)
The Spirit of God makes super-heroes out of all who trust Him.
Generosity is a super-natural act.
About the World?
“Out of this world” generosity is always noticed.