This week in our Daily Devotions we are looking at “Simple Generosity” as taught by Jesus in the New Testament.
Remember the early church? Generosity was at the very core of the first Christian community.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Luke’s description swings back and forth between outlining the way these first Christians embrace generosity and reminding us how they devote themselves to prayer, study and preaching. It’s an important connection, and Luke is careful not to separate how they give from how they live as Christians.
It’s a beautiful type of synergy, as the more they trust God, the freer they become with the resources at their disposal. Their community grows stronger day by day, drawing each of them into deeper understanding of what it is to be loved by God and to show love in return.
Writing after Jesus’ death and resurrection, John – “the disciple who Jesus loved” – made the link clear.
“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4 v 19)
Abundant love all starts at the cross, at Jesus’ feet. Nowhere is it clearer than in the image of Christ on the cross, arms open wide, his invitation extended to all. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8 v 9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
He is a generous God in love with an impoverished people; so he gave. The disciples of Acts 2 knew this, so generosity sat at the heart of all they did. So integrated was their view of what it meant to be a Christian that there were no needy people among them. They were willing to pay, whatever the cost – financial, social, professional. Why? Because they had seen it in action in the life of Jesus himself.