Often, one of the first words a child learns to say is, “Mine!”. Children use that word frequently when they grab a toy, or a device, or an item of clothing. We don’t have to teach our children to claim possession of something – that comes quite naturally to them. Instead, we have to teach them to share.
In this Sunday’s sermon passage, we learn something quite extraordinary: the early Christians learnt not to say “Mine!”. One of the marks of the early church was radical generosity. “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” (Acts 4:32). Luke tells his readers about this because this community was counter-cultural, utterly different to the communities around them in this kind of generosity.
What made this community act like this? We get a hint in the next verses: “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them” (Acts 4:33-34). They believed in the resurrected Lord Jesus. They believed that Jesus had given everything to them, including forgiveness and eternal life. They comprehended God’s grace, so they acted with grace towards one another.
How can we be this kind of community?
Firstly, it comes with understanding, believing, and applying the gospel of Jesus. He has given everything to us, therefore nothing is our own.
Secondly, we immerse ourselves in a community where we put this grace into practice. The best context for that at St Andrew’s is a Growth Group. These small groups are where we can get to know one another deeply, study God’s word together, and give our time and support to one another. They’re also the best context to provide practical and pastoral care to one another.
Thirdly, we seek to make sure that there are “no needy persons” amongst us, through the practical support provided by our CARE Fund (Community Aid Relief and Emergency). This fund exists to provide financial support for church members going through challenging times or crisis. This fund is also used to give support to asylum seekers and refugees.
How can people access these funds? Applications are handled confidentially by a small committee of staff and lay leaders. At first instance, you can contact one of our pastoral staff. Church members are also welcome to donate to this fund as a practical way of caring for others and supporting the work of the gospel.