In Acts chapter 2, we see the beginning of the church. It starts with the Holy Spirit coming upon the apostles, and they go out and share the good news of Jesus Christ. Peter then preaches a message to everyone who was present, and about 3000 come to faith in Jesus that day.
The last portion of Acts chapter 2 (verses 42-47) shares a description of how the early church functioned. It’s a very cool short passage about the early church and what they deemed important.
I specifically want to look at verse 45 of Acts 2 for this blog…
Acts 2:45 says – And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
I’ve heard it said concerning this verse that the church, in effect, ended poverty at that time. They were taking care of each other. Those who had more than needed were willing to pass it on to those who were in need. If anyone had a need, the church made sure that need was met and taken care of.
Let that sink in for a minute…
First, if someone had a need, that need was met by those in the church.
Second, if someone had more than they needed, they willingly gave up that excess to help those who had a need.
These 2 things were happening within the early church. People who were hurting and in need were being helped. People who had more and weren’t hurting understood that their excess could be used to help those in need.
This is something that, when we read it, it makes us smile. We like the idea of people being generous and helping those who are hurting and in need. We like the idea of that being a defining characteristic of the church.
However, I also think that if we are not careful, we can look at that passage and begin to ask “does the church do that today?” Or even go so far as to say “why doesn’t the church do that?!” In my years of experience, I’ve seen churches that do this well, and churches that don’t.
But that’s not the point of why I’m sharing this. I’m not writing this so we can begin to judge any particular church we have in our mind. Rather, I’m sharing this because there is a truth within it that I think we often miss…
Those within the church who had more knew who they could help because they knew who was in need.
This is a truth that I have been challenged with in my own life a lot lately. Not because I’m the person who has the means to help…rather because, in this season of my life, I’ve been the one in need. But do others know of my need? Or do I try to hide it and act like I’m fine?
Am I too prideful to be willing to admit ‘yea, I could use some help’?
I have always been a very hard worker, willing to do what I need to make ends meet. But, if I’m not also willing to share a need when I have one, then am I allowing my pride to keep me from being open and honest with my brothers and sisters in Christ?
It could be that I don’t like to admit I need help, because I think I can do it all on my own. Or, it could be that I don’t like to accept help from others, because I don’t want to admit I need their help. Whether it’s not liking to admit I need help, or not liking to accept when help is offered, both are born out of pride.
Don’t get me wrong here. Yes, we are to work hard. Yes, we need to learn to cut back at times to be smart with the money we have. Yes, we are to do what we can. We shouldn’t just be looking for a handout.
BUT, we also shouldn’t be unwilling to ask for or accept help when we need it. Or, meet a need when we see one it if we have the means to do so.
There are times in this life when, no matter how hard you work, and no matter what you cut out, you will still be hurting and in need. And there will be those who have enough excess in the church to be able to help.
Question is, if we have a need, are we letting people know of our need? And, if we have excess, are we willing to use it to help those who truly have a need?
What about you? Have you ever been in need, but you weren’t willing to share that need? Or, maybe people did know you had a need, but you weren’t willing to accept help?
If not…why not?
Psalm 34:6 says – This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
Proverbs 19:17 says – Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Matthew 25:34-40 says – Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
We see from these passages that caring for those in need is important to God.
God uses people to help those in need. He gives people blessings so he can use them to bless others who need it. But, if those who need it don’t say, how can those who have it help them?
As you seek to Simply Follow Jesus in this life, you must learn to be open and honest when you are in need. To set aside your pride and admit you need help when you do…and to accept help when it’s offered.
You must also learn to be willing to help those in need when you have the ability to do so. God doesn’t give to you so you can hold onto it yourself and be comfortable while watching others hurt. Rather, he gives to you so you can be able to help those who need it.
Going back to Acts 2:45. Don’t read it and ask “does the church do that?”. Rather, ask yourself if you are willing to do that.
Are you willing to set aside your pride and admit your need when you have one? And, are you willing to see a need and meet it when you have the means to do so?