by Calven Celliers
Last Sunday as I drove home from Church, I witnessed a small, seemingly insignificant, act of kindness that really touched my heart. One of the local homeless guys at a nearby intersection was given a loaf of bread by a motorist. He immediately opened the packet and I thought he must be really hungry. But then, much to my surprise, he took out a piece of bread, put the remainder of the loaf down on the sidewalk, and walked over to a stretch of lawn on the verge, where he proceeded to crumble the slice of bread for the birds to eat. How kind.
I thought of Christ’s words in Matthew 6, “ 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…” (Matthew 6:26NIV) and how our Heavenly Father had used this homeless man to do just that. Out of the little he had, he chose to share it some way. Even though it was only a slice of bread, and it was only for the birds, it spoke to me of generous stewardship.
The scene that played out before me at that intersection got me thinking about what we read about the early Church in the book of Acts, and how their example of godly living, that involves sharing, sets a precedent for us as believers living in community to this day. Sharing is not just a preschool principle, and it is not only about money or things, we can share in all sorts of ways, and when we do it honours God.
We read in Acts 4 that “32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” (Acts 4: 32 – 35NIV)
This is a beautiful glimpse of what life was like in the early church. This was not a forced distribution of goods, or sharing. It was by no means an attempt to make everyone give up their material things and redistribute them to others. No, it was a change of attitude, saying, ‘Nothing that I possess is mine, for my exclusive use, but everything that I possess is God’s, and therefore it is available to anyone who needs it.’ To fully appreciate the generosity of the early church, we need to think about the makeup of that church. Both Jews and Gentiles who had the courage to confess Jesus as Messiah were often ostracized by their family. Christianity was considered to be a dangerous and blasphemous cult. The survival of early believers was often dependent on the generosity of their new family, the Church. People living in that community with their shared both their lives and their good fortune with each other.
Sharing is caring!
We too are truly blessed to be part of a community of generous stewards. I know we say it every Sunday, but as a leadership we stand amazed at the continued support for the ministry at New Harvest, despite it being a time in world history when many are feeling the pinch in one way or another due to the ongoing pandemic and the resultant economic strain. We are so grateful to be able to continue to bless those in need, in both our local congregation and the surrounding community, thanks to your generous giving and sharing of what you have.
God bless you,