No Needy Among Them

Today’s reading is Acts 4.

“There was not a needy person among them…”

If we read this too quickly, we may pass right through this profound statement and miss what is really going on. To us today, this can be a quaint picture of togetherness in the first congregation: “Oh, how sweet! They loved each other and cared for each other.” That, however, is only the surface of what is happening. Luke is calling to mind a passage from the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 15:4, God, describing how He would care for the kingdom of Israel, explained, “But there will be no poor among you.” Then the chapter goes on to explain that the reason there wouldn’t be any poor was not because everyone would own their own home, have their own very productive farm, enjoy lucrative businesses or employment. No, rather, some would be financially blessed and others would not be. However, those who were blessed would share with those who weren’t. In that way, everyone in God’s kingdom would be taken care of, and there would be no needy among them. Regrettably, Israel failed horribly. They were judged not only because they didn’t love God, but because they didn’t love one another. With that in the background, Luke paints the picture of the first congregation. Where the kingdom of Israel failed, Christ’s kingdom succeeded. Those who had the blessings did not horde them as their own, but sold and shared. And among them, the needs of the needy were provided. There were no needy among them. Amazing. How is that working for us today?

Next weeks’s reading is Acts 5.

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A Good Living OR a Good Life

Today’s reading is Luke 21.

Most of us spend our lives trying to earn a good living. However, Jesus highlights the widow who hardly has any living at all as the epitome of all His teaching. In Luke 12:15, Jesus pointed out that life does not consist of possessions. In Luke 19:18-23, the one we call the rich, young ruler had a good living, but he walked away from true life. Here, a poor widow shows that she was focused on real life. She was willing to sacrifice her life so she could have real life. The point, of course, is not that simply being poor qualifies anyone for the kingdom. Neither is the point that being wealthy excludes anyone from the kingdom. However, we do learn that the idea that material goods are not the indicator of God’s approval. If God blesses you with a good living, that’s cool. Use it to glorify Him and serve your brothers and sisters. But don’t waste your years chasing a good living, invest your time pursing a good life. And through Jesus Christ find what is life indeed.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 21.

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