Scripture Reading — Acts 4:32-37
Barnabas ... brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet. Acts 4:36-37 —
We know that building a church takes preaching--who can believe without hearing? We know it takes serving, organizing, and planning. But it also needs Spirit-inspired giving. God made radical generosity a key ingredient of biblical community. Our generous giving enables our church to become the spiritually alive, dynamic, mission-minded group we long for it to be.
In a sense, giving proves that our faith is real. In a culture oriented to collecting stuff, the sort of giving that makes your accountant shake her head in disbelief is a work of faith. Talk is cheap. But generosity is a sign of God's grace--to people inside and outside the church.
Churches, especially new ones, depend on radical giving. On the front lines of ministry, needs are great. Without deep giving, it's hard to imagine a new church surviving. A rent-free place to worship, a donated field, a generous check--all these can help make the difference between a community's thriving and struggling. One man gave a large sum of money to help move our church from a rundown warehouse to a new facility--though he had never even attended a worship service. A retired day-worker faithfully sends us monthly checks at great personal sacrifice.
New churches usually cannot fund themselves. They need people like Barnabas--believers like you and me.
Father, some of us say, "We're not growing," and we blame our church's programs. Grow us in the grace of giving, we pray, in the name of Jesus, your great gift to us. Amen.