The past several Sunday sermons have been going through the book of Acts. Last Sunday was Acts 4:32-37. As the sermon so convinctingly emphasized the idea of dedication of our gifts and resources to the body of Christ, I couldn’t help but note the stark contrast to how this passage would be written according to philosophy of seed and harvest that is so prevalent today. I imagine it would go something like this;
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul and every one said that the things that belonged to them were a result of the seed they had planted. So they shared this in common. And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the blessings of the Lord Jesus and the great favor that was granted them because of the seed they sowed. There was not a needy person among them because they all had planted a seed by laying it at the apostles feet so the apostles could proclaim the favor that fell upon them and proclaim the anointing of those who fell at their feet. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and took the money as his seed and laid it at the apostles’ feet so he could reap a harvest.
Um, no…and note the difference of what it actually says
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
In the first scenario, it is all about gaining favor for self to earn blessings. The actual scenario is about recognizing that favor has already been granted because of their union in Christ, in whom they have already been blessed. Through this union, we care for the needs of others in the body. In the first scenario, the basis of Christian belief is based on activity of the people to be blessed. The actual scenario shows the apostles proclaim the work of God alone and the core of our belief that Jesus rose from the dead. In the first scenario, blessings are proclaimed. In the actual scenario, Christ is proclaimed through the preaching of his work for the love of his body.
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28)