HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
From the book of Acts, we read,
“And all that believed were together and had all things common” (Acts 2:44).
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” (Acts 4:32).
This is because they had
“And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” (Acts 2:45).
“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” (Romans 12:13).
Isn’t it wonderful that when you read this, you can say, “Wow, that is exactly how our church runs”? But does it really? But this is the way it worked out best for them, then and there; and I believe it would still work out very well today. Think of it, they were of one heart and of one soul.
When I look at the body of Christ today, I see that the believers of the “arms” may have this kind of unity, but they do not want to be compared with those of the “legs.” But what does it matter? The “arms” in the body of Christ have a different job to do and so do the “legs.” If Christ is the head of all these “parts” and God is glorified – Hallelujah! There is no excuse for not living up to the example that has been given to us.
“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food” (James. 2:15)
and one who
But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John. 3:17),
and says unto him,
“And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (James. 2:16).
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John. 3:17).
I don’t think the idea was that everybody sold everything, so everybody was now in the same poverty. I’m not looking for this kind of unity. But obviously “in the multitude of them that believed” there were some in need. Maybe their need was daily food, clothing, furniture, finances or a place to stay. One may have needed prayer or someone to talk to or listen to. Whatever the need was, 2000 years later, the needs in our church today are the same.
The question is, Why do we suffer need at all? Is it because of our disobedience, or because we don’t give our tithe faithfully? Is it a judgment of God? Or is it because we are just too weak, and we don’t believe enough or pray long enough? Should not we be the ones who are wealthy and have all the material benefits, never needing anything of anybody, always doing good, so happy and blessed? Then we could proudly say,
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” (Luke 18:11-12)!
Paul was a very faithful man in Christ, and he said, “ know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:12).
Jesus let his disciples know, “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always” (Matthew 26:11).
Now who are the poor, the needy ones? The unbelieving heathens? Well, Paul would not agree with this opinion, as he wrote to the Romans, “For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26).
A contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem? How about that? What a bad testimony! What went wrong down there? Nothing, necessarily! But as it is in our relationship with our heavenly Father, it is always a giving and receiving. Our God is always loving, giving and forgiving.
It is good to be dependent on each other. This is how it should work also between believers.
2 Corinthians 8:13-14: For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
With his love poured out in your heart and having peace within, you can,
“Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on” (Matthew 6:25),
“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” (Matthew 6:32).
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33),
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6).
Here is the answer, whether you are rich or poor. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and his promise is “all these things shall be added unto you.” But don’t forget to let your requests be made known unto God and his children, your spiritual family. Don’t expect them to read your needs on your forehead.
And how about sharing with other “loved ones” as Jesus said:
Matthew 5:44-47: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Romans 12:20: Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
And while I heap coals, I think about,
Matthew 10:36: And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Now, who are my enemies? Honestly, I have a greater battle to love some within my household than some enemies in the world.
And concerning giving to the necessity of the saints, how much is enough?
2 Corinthians 9:7, 12: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 12 After all the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
1 Corinthians 16:2:
Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him,
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Now I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.