The Community That Ended Poverty

Just the other day I read something in the Bible that, although I must have read it a hundred times before, never jumped out at me the way it did this time. The words practically threw themselves off the page. I was reading at the end of Acts 4 …

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continues to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands and houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” – Acts 4:32-35 (NIV)

Wait a minute … did I read that right? There were no needy persons among them. How did I miss this before?

Back in July we had a discussion about whether or not we should – or even can – end poverty. It was a good discussion with some very insightful comments.

This verse wasn’t mentioned in that discussion, but as I read the verse I started to ponder something.

If the believers in Acts were able to essentially eradicate poverty among their community, why couldn’t we (the Church) follow their lifestyle and do the same today? What would happen if churches would simply start following the model of the Church in Acts? Could we eliminate poverty?

What do you think? Does this verse change how you think about poverty and the Church’s role in ending it?

9 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Tina M. August 20, 2009

    @Denise L. – Denise, the Lord saw your post, even if no one else did. He knows your heart – God Bless!

  2. Sarah January 8, 2009

    Wow, I never thought about that. That gives us hope that if the church works together for God , He does great things.

  3. Compassion dave January 8, 2009

    That is a wonderful application for the passage and I believe I even used the text once in a presentation, but in actuality it is not (arguably) poverty that is being eradicated here (or least that is only 1/2 of a very wonderful story).

    Long story short, these disciples pooled all there resources for the benefit of the Christian pilgrims and believers-to-be who had left everything behind for the sake of Jesus Christ. Acts 2 gives us an idea from whence all these folks came.

    What we have is one group of people who ‘left it all’ and another group of people who ‘gave it all’. I think it is important to give the first group of people their just due–you might say they opted for poverty just to be with Jesus. Either way you go, there are some excellent applications here.

  4. Sheri Beck January 7, 2009

    Thank you for this post. I have been praying that God will give me an open door to talk with someone about sponsoring an LDP student. They are amazing young people. Each time I’ve heard an LDP testimony I feel that God shared something precious with me.

  5. Juli Jarvis January 7, 2009

    Thank you for pointing out this wonderful sentence. It slips past us so easily. If the church would follow this model, we would eliminate poverty. The question is, will the church fulfill its part in looking out for the needs of others? Where is the bulk of church finances spent — on buildings & utilities, study materials, trips, salaries, or the needs of the poor? It makes you think, doesn’t it?

  6. Helena Dworeck January 7, 2009

    Poor Denise!
    I think like Greg, that the church begins from every individual, in my case from me. If we punish people to our views, there will only become lots of Ananias´s and Saphiras. Prayin for Gods church to grow in knowing Him more deeply would help in case of poverity. And the thing that one herself does the most she can, by Gods love.

  7. Denise L. January 7, 2009

    I wrote a 3-paragraph comment on this issue, and when I tried to post, was told there was an error even though the items required to be enabled on my computer were enabled. What a waste of my time and effort. Word Press, you have problems.

  8. Greg Birgy January 7, 2009

    Like you, I’ve read this verse over and over, and have ALWAYS found it convicting and motivating, but I did miss that all important fact that “There were no needy persons among them.” What a hope-filled passage! These were human beings just like you and me, fallen, sinful, yet living what they believed and making an incredible impact. Now I, as a part of the Church, continue to be challenged to allow my faith to impact my lifestyle choices to the extent that these early believers did. The Church begins with me…can’t expect others to do what I myself am not doing. Thanks for bringing it home again Becky!

  9. Meredith January 7, 2009

    Great post Becky. I don’t know that this verse changes my mind about the Church’s role so much as it reaffimrs to me what the Church’s role has always been.
    Why or how the Church has relinquished responsibility is beyond me. This verse is clear and simple in its mandate.

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