Summary: How do we fill up our Churches with radical givers determined to make a difference for the kingdom? Read or use this sermon to inspire a wave of generous- sacrificial giving.
"Radical giving" Acts 4:32-37 Pastor Bob Hunter
In our home these days, there is such a thing that rules called toddler control. Our children are young, and from a very young age human beings understand that possession is 90% of the law. Only in the mind of a toddler its 100% of the law!. If they play with it, it’s theirs, even if it’s not theirs. If it looks like theirs, its theirs and don’t try to tell them otherwise. If they play with it, set it down for five minutes and walk away; its still theirs. Don’t think for a second you can take it way, you’ll be in big trouble. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to make obnoxious toys disappear and been caught red handed. I’m talking about the world of toddler control.
A couple of years ago, for his second birthday my son Grant was given a little toy Tonka backhoe that he would often take to the park and play with in the sand. It was the neatest toy, in fact I played with it myself a few times! The only problem was that all of the other kids wanted to play with it too. Every kid in the sand pit wanted to take their turn digging dirt with the backhoe. On one of our trips to the park, the backhoe disappeared and was never seen again. Now why did that happen? Simply put, somebody possessed it. To a child possession is everything. In the mind of a toddler, the world revolves around me! If it mine, it stays mine, if it looks like mine, it probably is mine, if I played with it, it’s mine, if I touched it, it’s mine, if I even looked at it, it’s mine. Mine, mine, mine & me, me, me.
Acts Ch. 4 is the total opposite of ‘me.’ These verses represent the polar opposite of me and what is mine. The early Church operated with a fundamentally different premise. Among them there was no place for selfishness. The early followers of Jesus were characteristically unselfish in every way. They made huge sacrifices to meet the needs of the less fortunate. They even sold property to finance the ongoing mission of the Church. They were radical in their giving. They were generous with their stuff. They were liberal with all of their possessions.
And I don’t know about you, but when I read this I get a little bit uncomfortable. I mean its a little bit unsettling to think, that maybe God expects the same thing from us. That maybe you and I should live this way. That we should see all of our possessions as not our own, but as vehicles to help and serve somebody else. That’s a pretty frightening proposition. Are we ready for something this radical? To some Acts 4 sounds a little bit socialism or wealth redistribution. Though none of it was forced or demanded. Having everything in common was a choice of their own! I’m already challenged! But before we go further we need to deal with some issues.
Let us first talk about some of the things that prevent us from being truly radical in our giving and sharing. What is it that holds us back? Why are we not sharing and giving this way? Why is the sharing way of life so unpopular? Let’s just take a moment to answer that question. Why is it so hard for us to adapt a radical giving way of life? Why don’t we do this? Why is radical giving difficult for us?
1. There is a fear giving up control.
Letting go of possessions that we worked hard to accumulate is a dangerous proposition. There’s a human element of fear involved in it; taking our hands off & letting go. We tend to fear our possessions will fall into the hands of someone who might not appreciate, value, or use it appropriately. We fear they might squander or take it for granted. You see, we never outgrow our childish ways do we? Even as adults, we hesitate when it comes to sharing. Giving up control of our possessions is just one among many of the challenges we face in life as we grow and mature. And it happens to be one of the chief reasons why we don’t share very openly. The second reasons is this…
2. There is a risk of not being rewarded.
Let’s just suppose you are to give generously to a cause or to a project, and nobody stops to say ‘thank you’ or appreciate your input. Let’s just suppose you pour your heart out & give generously and theres recognition lack. No credit where credit is due, and no thank you whatsoever. Is that O.K? Many of us fear our acts of kindness & generosity will go unoticed.