All the believers were one in heart and mind. . . . They shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32)
My in-laws were generous people. While my wife and I were dating—and for several years after we were married—her father would always insist on paying for any meals that we would share in a restaurant. Even when I tried to leave the tip, I was met with a firm but gentle “No.” Eventually I learned to accept their charitable attitude. But as the years passed, I ultimately began to return the favor and do the same for them as they had for us.
The early church was known for its generosity. The advent of the Holy Spirit made it possible. As the believers shared the good news of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, his example of ultimate sacrifice became the model for their way of life. Giving freely was seen as exemplary. No gift was too small, and no giver was discouraged. Jesus gave everything for them; they would give everything for him.
Our tendency as fallen humans is not one of generosity, but of self-preservation. Though we may give when we think we have enough to spare, sacrificial giving is not easy. But his Spirit can help us change both our views about giving and our practice of it. Everyone had what they needed in the early church. As we learn to share generously with one another, the same will be true of us today.
Seek ways to give more to those who are in need.
Roland E. Cavanaugh is a former pastor and current chaplain of Providence Place Senior Health and Rehabilitation (NC). He enjoys reading, writing, and nature.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.