Back to the Basics: An Example of Generosity

bowl of tomatoes being handed to a person with gloves on.

As I continue in my series on the Book of Acts, I would like to teach from the last few verses of chapter four. Even though these are a small number of scriptures out of chapter four, they provide us an example of how the church should function with helping people in need. There are many people today who might be going through a difficult time, whether that be financially, emotionally, or physically. Regardless of what one’s circumstances might be, nothing is impossible with God. I would like to raise a question to you before I go into this teaching, what is your church doing to reach out to those in your community or even inside your church who are in need? This is something we all need to ask whether we are involved in church leadership or not.

Acts 4:32-33: Sharing and Like Minded

Let’s begin with Acts 4:32-33 (NKJV) which says, “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”.  The group of believers in the church of Acts were a group of people who were like-minded with the same beliefs in Jesus Christ through the Apostles were teaching them. Romans 15:5-6 (NKJV) tells us, “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,  that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”. Additionally, Philippians 2:2 (NKJV) tells us, “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”.  Aside from being like-minded, the people in the church of Acts shared what they had individually with each other, only because of the great grace through Jesus Christ that they had.

Acts 4:34-37: Examples of Generosity

Acts 4:34-35 (NKJV) continues and tells us, “Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”. The early Christians shared their possessions to others who were in need, they are leading by example with their generosity. This generosity was not of their own works but a work of God through them because of grace. Continuing on Acts 4:36-37 (NKJV) tells us, “And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,  having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”. Joses led by example by selling his land and donating all the profits from the sale to the church.  Joses act of generosity should inspire us Christians to strive to be as generous as we possibly can.

What Else Does the Bible Say About Generosity?

So aside from the Book of Acts, what do other verses in the Bible tell us about generosity? Proverbs 19:17 (NKJV), says “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.”. God will repay those who help the needy out. We shouldn’t give to expect something back; we should give because it is the right thing to do and it is instructed to us by God. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (NKJV)  tells us “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother,  but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.”. Too often in today’s world, people want to live a self-centered life where they are more concerned about their bank account than the needs of others around them. If you are more concerned about your bank account and investments than having a giving heart, then you’re taking pride in yourself and in your finances. 1 John 2:16 (NKJV) says “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”. God doesn’t want us to be prideful He wants us to be humble, James 4:10 (ESV) tells us, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”. 

The Gospel of Prosperity?

Many people don’t like to talk about this but there are many ministers who live in mansions and proclaim the Word of God. Some people will only follow their teachings because they will teach you prosperity on Sundays or in their books. I understand ministers need to make a living to support themselves and their families, but if you are living in a mansion, I feel your megachurch needs to do more to serve the people of the community. It’s not about living our ‘Best Life Now’, it is about being sure that we are 100 percent ready for eternity. 1 John 3:17 (NKJV) reminds us, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”.

Final Thoughts

So now that we have an example of generosity from the Book of Acts, could your church be doing more outreach to others? I am sure we could all pull together as the Body of Christ and find ways to show our generosity to people in our churches who are in need, along with unbelievers who are in need. Outreaching to unbelievers who are in need is a great way to minister to them. So, I challenge you to take some time and reflect on how you can better show generosity as God’s Word instructs us to. I would like to end with giving you a list of the nine fruits of the Spirit that should show through in all believers, I recently wrote a devotional on this so please be sure to order that! The nine fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV) which says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”. There will come times when we might be lacking in one of these nine fruits if that is the case for you then seek God to help you in your weakness. In my next teaching, I will continue to chapter five in the Book of Acts.