By Mike Stickler
Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
We are genuinely blessed to be part of a church, which in every way demonstrates, the generous mindset of this verse. Perhaps your church, too, has a large food pantry that is maintained by the practical hearts of a loving people, with items you might actually need on the shelves. You know, sort of like a mini grocery store. Maybe a fully operating commercial kitchen where various shifts of people whip up culinary amazements and serves them to the poor. Or even a missions and benevolences budget that reaches beyond 20% of the overall budget. Or perhaps these and even more service outreaches.
More than that? We know that this can all be done with a small paid staff serving a congregation of about 200 families. Instead of paid staff, volunteers run every department with incredible efficiency. It is good to be a part of a church with evidence of such a strong biblical pattern. I imagine some may come in and take advantage in the pantry, come up with a story in order to get some financial relief. But, our congregation believes that it all belongs to the Lord and only the Lord knows the true intent of a man’s heart. So, we give. We give because we know we can’t out-give God.
With this heart, God also provides for all our other needs; salaries, the beautiful church building, all of our programs and maintenance expenses, and our congregational tithing.
For many years it wasn’t always like this. My wife, Kim and I participated in one church that was miserable in its giving and its approach to helping one another. Another church was presumptuous in its faith and often made a greater display of certain acts of giving while maintaining a tight-fisted approach to other, clear needs. For years, it was hard to see why each of these ministries struggled. But, now that we are seeing Acts 4:32 in action, God’s generous plan becomes clear.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
How does your congregation compare to the one described in Acts 4:32? Is it tight-fisted? Presumptuous? Or can you see the culture of generosity throughout the ministry. How can you begin to affect change or affirm what you see? Write down your actions here.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.