32 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.
33 And with great power the apostles were giving 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 were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Here is the pattern that you’ll see over and over in the book of Acts:
- Unity within the Church
- Praying together
- A miracle from the Holy Spirit
- The spread of the Gospel to new places
These four things are almost the chorus or the commercial-break through 28 chapters of Acts.
Here the unity is with their stuff. They share everything they have, willingly, and give their testimonies about Jesus to one another.
This is an effective way to prayer walk, by the way. Go somewhere with a friend with something you can share between more than just the two of you, like a cornhole game or 4 bottles of Ski. Enjoy yourself, do your thing, and talk to each other about the great things that God has done in your life. You will be surprised at the onlookers and over-hearers that are built up and want to join you. Continue your conversation, invite them to share any great things to be thankful for or things they’ve seen God do.
In this case, we get an origin story along with the lifestyle of the Church. This Levite named Joseph had already earned a nickname and now lived up to it with his property. “Barnabas” would go on to be one of the top apostles of the early church.
He was moved to bring this money to support all of the disciples that were gathering together every day. There were some in need at this time that were supported by the rest of the group, and in the years to come, all of them in Jerusalem would be helped by the churches in Ephesus, Corinth, and elsewhere.
The church was built on Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. It grew as the disciples served one another in more ways, like selling stuff and supporting one another. As it grew into the whole world, it was still a support system and a network of help.
With fractal precision, the Church’s mission would be “by this all will know you are my disciples, by your love for one another.” This would be the Church’s witness from person to person, city to city, and nation to nation.
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