Today’s WORD (Text) Acts 4:32-35
32/ Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33/ With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34/ There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35/ They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Luke seamlessly weaves together this report of the apostles testifying to the risen Lord with his description of their communal life that included sharing and redistributing resources. No line of demarcation existed between their faith in the resurrected Christ and their practice of sharing their possessions. They agreed in both heart and soul that Christ has risen and that no one should claim private ownership of any possessions. They held these beliefs and practices side by side. Their lifestyle, which entailed sharing whatever they had with each other was all sewn up with their love for Jesus and faith in the resurrection. Earlier in Chapter 2, and in Acts 4:4, Luke emphasizes that their membership grew steadily by the thousands. Faith and practice go hand in hand in Christ’s church, and both are required for the numerical growth of the Christian community, then and now.
Why are proclamation and service (sometimes referred to as mission) inseparable in the Christian experience?
Lord, we thank you for the earliest Christian communities who understood that sermon and service, word and witness, and message and mission go hand in hand. Grant us the courage of conviction and clarity of ministry call to both proclaim and to practice the love of Christ in all that we say and do. In this season of tremendous challenge and distress across our nation, make us witnesses who tell the story and practice the lessons that you taught us, in the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The Passionary Intention
Today, I choose to live my life with passion. Today, I intend to follow Christ more nearly, love more dearly and incarnate God’s grace more clearly by asking myself three questions:
- Where will I follow Christ today?
- To whom shall I demonstrate Jesus’ love and justice today?
- How can I play my part in practicing the presence of Christ, right here, right now?
The Passionary Movement Word and Witness devotion is published weekdays (Monday – Friday). Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies is the author of today’s devotion.
Photo by Luis Morera on Unsplash