Scripture: Acts 11:19-30
Key verses: (29-30) The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
Reflection: Today’s passage is primarily focused on the way the good news of Jesus Christ spread in the first century world. Persecution inspired migration – faithful people scattered to avoid persecution. And migration inspired growth – faithful people shared the good news wherever they went. “A great number became believers and turned to the Lord.”
In the last sentences of the passage we dive into the details of church life. A person named Agabus predicted a famine and the disciples responded by gathering financial pledges to help those who would be affected by it. Each person made a commitment “according to their ability.” Those who had more would give more. Those who had less would give less. Everyone would give something. And the writer tells us in the next line “this they did.” They honored their commitments and they gave as they were able in order to help others. They likely didn’t know the people who received their gifts but they recognized that God has intertwined our lives in a human family as part of the kingdom.
Generosity was a consequence of their faithfulness. Faithful people are generous people. Faithful people care about others who are in need. For all the folks who complain that the church talks too much about money, notice little sections like this one. Repeatedly the early disciples are called to give and they are reminded that generosity is a part of faithfulness. It’s not optional.
Prayer: Loving God, you have been generous in pouring out your forgiveness and your grace. Teach me to be generous as I respond to you and as I love my neighbors who need help. Use me and use my gifts. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].