Acts 2:45, “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”
The book of Acts serves as a historical record for the early church. The full name for the book of Acts is, “The Acts of the Apostles.” The book was written by Luke, who was a companion of Paul and a physician, with the intent of leaving behind a legacy for future generations of disciples to follow and aspire to.
In Acts 2:42-47, after Luke described the day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he wrote an overview of what the church of the first disciples looked like in those early times. Today’s verse is taken from that summary and is helpful because it highlights the generosity and love the disciples had for the needy.
The foundation for the first disciple’s generosity comes from following Jesus’ example and teachings in the gospels. The church’s instruction manual was the life of Jesus.
In the gospels we see the following things that teach us generosity and compassion from the life of Jesus; (1) Jesus stated He came to preach to the poor in Luke 4:18, (2) He commanded a rich man to sell all he had and give it to the poor in Matthew 19:21, (3) He commanded His disciples to invite the poor, the cripple and the outcasts to their banquets and treat them equally in Luke 14:13, (4) Jesus taught to regularly give to the poor in Matthew 6:3 and (5) He gave a chilling insight that He would judge people based on their acts of compassion to the needy in Matthew 25:35-40.
It is of no surprise to see in the first moments of the church’s conception that the more prosperous disciples were willing to sell what they had to give to those who were in need. The church was willing to do what Jesus taught concerning their money because they were His disciples. They weren’t going to try and keep one foot in the world and one in the Kingdom of God. Also, more than likely, they were inspired by such people as Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8, who gave half of all his possessions to the poor.
Likewise, Paul taught later on in his epistle to Timothy that caring for widows was extremely important and should never be neglected (1 Timothy 5:3-16). And James, Jesus’ half-brother and the first leader of the early church, wrote that caring for orphans and widows was considered “true religion” (James 1:27).
Giving to the poor not only blesses them but it blesses us. King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 11:25, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Likewise Lester Roloff said, “God’s greatest blessings are upon those who show the proper respect for the poor and the needy.” Solomon also wrote in Proverbs 21:13, “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.”
As a result, all disciples should live a lifestyle of compassion for the poor and needy. Whether it is giving regularly to acts of charity in their home church, taking mission trips, volunteering in local charities or helping their neighbors in times of need; all disciples of Christ should have a generous heart for the poor.
- Repent for the sins of greed and selfishness if you haven’t been like Jesus and the disciples in regards to the poor.
- Pray for God to show you what you can do to help others. For example support foreign missions, local charities or a Good Samaritan fund in your church.
- Ask God to bless you so you can be a blessing to others!