All Things In Common
Acts 2:44 says, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common.” Did you ever stop to ponder what that statement meant? How was it that the very earliest believers in Christ had “all things in common”? Acts 4:32 says, “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” We have here an example of brotherly love and of giving freely from individuals to help others of the same faith, who were in need. Acts 2:45 says, “and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” There was no requirement or command that the early believers sell their possessions, but rather it was done so willingly by each member. It was a voluntary act of kindness and compassion for those that had need. Notice Acts 5:4, concerning the land that was sold by Ananias and Sapphira, Peter asked Ananias, “While it remained was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” There was no requirement then or today for believers to sell land or possessions. Ananias and Sapphira were not commanded to sell the land. Their sin was that they lied before God.
Some have argued and continue to argue that the statements made in Acts 2:44-45 and in Acts 4:32 are examples that the early church supported communism. That simply is not the case. The definition of communism is: “the advocacy of a classless society in which private ownership has been abolished and the means of production and subsistence belong to the community.” Communism requires the people to sell and give to the community or to an organization to redistribute. The early believers sold their possessions willingly, not because they were required to, but because they realized a need, and individually they reacted by selling and giving to those who had need. In II Cor. 9:7 the following command is given, “So let each on give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” The giver is to give willingly, not because he or she is forced to give above his or her ability to do so. If one were unwillingly forced to give above their ability, the command above would be impossible to follow and we know that God’s word does not contradict itself. As Christians we are to be good stewards of those things that God has blessed us with and, in that, we understand our responsibilities to our families, to one another, to our government and most importantly to God. Therefore we are to purpose in how we will provide for each obligation. II Cor. 8:12-14 says, “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. (13) For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; (14) but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality.” Notice what must first be present: “… a willing mind.” That the key to a Christian’s attitude not only in giving but in other things as well. Willingness in all things. Willingness to give, willingness to serve, willingness to obey, willingness to sacrifice for others. The needs of those early believers were met because of the willingness of others to provide. That must be our attitude today, a willingness to provide for the needs of others, not only physically but spiritually as well.
- Garrett Alsip