Christianity Is Sharing, Not Holding

Christianity is a religion of self-denial and commitment (Matthew 16:24-26). The teaching and behavior of the church of God is sharing, not holding. Acts 2:44-45 says of the Christians in Jerusalem: “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need.” (See also Acts 4:32-35). There was a need in the church in Jerusalem. To meet that need, the Christians, who had property, willingly sold it and gave the money to help feed their fellow Christians.

There are many examples of such unselfish sharing in the New Testament. In Acts 4:36-37, we read of Barnabas, who sold his field, and gave the money to the apostles to help others. In Acts 6:1-7, we read of needy widows who were fed by the church. In Acts 11:27-30, we read of prophets who told the church at Antioch of a great famine, which was coming. “And the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judea: which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.” In Acts 20:35, Paul, the apostle, reminded the elders at the church at Ephesus of his example: “In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring ye ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Not only does the New Testament teach that Christians are share with the needy, but it also exposes religious money making schemes. In Acts 16:16-20, Paul and Barnabas cast an evil spirit out of a young woman. Her masters were not happy because they used her to make money. Therefore, they accused Paul and Silas and had them beaten and thrown in prison.

In Acts 19, we read of the silversmiths in Ephesus who made money by selling shrines of Diana. When many people accepted Christianity, and therefore no longer worshipped idols, their trade was gone. Demetrius stirred up a great multitude against the Christians. Paul was forced to leave because of it.

Our Saviour left Heaven in order to come to earth so that we can be saved. (II Corinthians 8:9). The early evangelists went out to preach because of their sacrificial commitment to Jesus Christ. We today must be willing to leave worldly things in order to take the gospel to the world.

The New Testament teaches that we must give in order to help those who are in need (Matthew 25:34-40; I John 3:17). We must also give in order to help support the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:3-5). By our giving, we show our love for one another (Acts 4:32-35). By our giving to the Lord and His work, we also are laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). Christians want to give because it makes them happy (Acts 20:35).

Christians must plan so that they will be able to give to the Lord’s work. They should not make debts which they can not pay. They should not buy things which they do not need. By doing this, they will be able to provided for their own needs and have enough left over to help others (Ephesians 4:28).