42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-27

As I’ve been reading the first couple of chapters of Acts, three things have impressed me greatly. This passage from Acts 2 gives us a glimpse of each of them.

1.   Devoted
Notice in verse 42 that it says the new believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. During Lent, I studied a bit about its history. In the early church, new believers were baptized only once a year on Easter morning. For several weeks before their baptism, the believers went through a period of preparation. Every resource I read described the new believers as “devoting” themselves to prayer, repentance, fasting and giving. I have been so taken with this word. Am I devoted to studying Scripture? Am I devoted to giving? Am I devoted to fellowship with other believers? I am hard-pressed to answer those questions affirmatively. Which ultimately leads to the question “Am I devoted to the Lord?” I have been working on my devotion to the Lord over the past month.

2.   Giving
Verses 44 and 45 present a common theme in the early chapters of Acts. The believers provided for those among them who could not provide for themselves. “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Notice it doesn’t say that their tithes provided for the needs of everyone. It says that when there were needs, they sold something to meet that need. That’s much different from me giving my tithe or an offering from my paycheck. There is both a difference in the attitude toward possessions and a willingness to sacrifice that goes beyond the perspective most of us have about giving. Giving an offering which makes me unable to purchase something I want is one thing; selling something I already own (and therefore have some degree of emotional attachment to) is something else altogether. This attitude is further described in Acts 4:

32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.… 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
Acts 4:32, 34-35

I am challenged to truly view all I own as belonging to the Lord. I might say that everything I have is God’s, but when was the last time I sold something purely to give the proceeds to someone in need? The closest I’ve come is having a garage sale with the proceeds going to a missions trip I was taking. Selling items in a garage sale, which was part of my preparation for moving to a new home anyway, is an example of selling things I no longer needed or wanted. It’s not an example of me selling something of value solely to give the proceeds to someone in need. How about you? Have you asked God lately what He might want you to sell so that you can give to someone in need?

3.   Talking about Jesus – Everywhere
Verses 46 and 47 give us a hint at something we see throughout the early chapters of Acts – that the people were constantly talking about and praising God. Do you freely talk about the Lord and praise Him? I’ve found that the more devoted I am to studying His Word the more I see Him at work all around me. And the more I see Him at work all around me, the more thankful I am to know Him. And all that leads to me talking about Him more. Many of us have allowed society to convince us that talking about our faith and the object of our faith is taboo. The early Christians talked about Jesus everywhere they went. I’m becoming convinced that being devoted to Jesus has little meaning if my devotion isn’t obvious – not just by the way I live, but also because I talk about it and about Him. If faith is the most important thing in my life, how can I not?

Comments are closed.

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter