The readings these past couple of days are providing examples of what we are called to do – to give freely from what we have to make sure all are looked after according to their needs. This isn’t a government mandate – this is from the mouth of God. Again, I went to the footnotes of that further explains our first reading this morning…
* [4:32–37] This is the second summary characterizing the Jerusalem community (see note on Acts 2:42–47). It emphasizes the system of the distribution of goods and introduces Barnabas, who appears later in Acts as the friend and companion of Paul, and who, as noted here (Acts 4:37), endeared himself to the community by a donation of money through the sale of property. This sharing of material possessions continues a practice that Luke describes during the historical ministry of Jesus (Lk 8:3) and is in accord with the sayings of Jesus in Luke’s gospel (Lk 12:33; 16:9, 11, 13).
You can hit the hyperlinks here or I’ll just post for you to read each one…
Lk 8:3 – Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
Lk 12:33 – Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.p
Lk 16:9 – I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,* so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.b
Lk 16:11 – If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?
Lk 16;13 – No servant can serve two masters.* He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”d
I don’t know about you, but I needed a little clarification on the Luke 16 references – who or what is this Mammon character?
* [16:9] Dishonest wealth: literally, “mammon of iniquity.” Mammon is the Greek transliteration of a Hebrew or Aramaic word that is usually explained as meaning “that in which one trusts.” The characterization of this wealth as dishonest expresses a tendency of wealth to lead one to dishonesty. Eternal dwellings: or, “eternal tents,” i.e., heaven.
* [16:10–12] The second conclusion recommends constant fidelity to those in positions of responsibility.
* [16:13] The third conclusion is a general statement about the incompatibility of serving God and being a slave to riches. To be dependent upon wealth is opposed to the teachings of Jesus who counseled complete dependence on the Father as one of the characteristics of the Christian disciple (Lk 12:22–39). God and mammon: see note on Lk 16:9. Mammon is used here as if it were itself a god.
What is the point of all of this? Long story short – don’t say your taxes are your charitable efforts, give from your heart. Share your blessings with those who will distribute them honestly and fairly…
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.
Do something great for our Lord today, trust in Him, not some woolly mammon (or is that mammoth? either way, both should be extinct by now…). Take the advice you give your kids…share and share alike.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.
But you man of God, chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.