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7 // A Radical Community 

Characteristic 3: Sacrificial Giving

Read Acts 2:42-47 & Acts 4:32-37 – Characteristic 3: Sacrificial Giving

“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” (Acts 4:34-35) . Even though the early church was full of those who had very little, their community was characterised by sacrificial giving and a deep concern for the poor. This is something Paul confirms for his own apostolic ministry when he meets with James, Peter and John (Gal.2).  Tertullian, the early church writer, wrote this of the Christians “Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. These gifts are . . . not spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines or banished to the islands or shut up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God’s Church, they become the nurslings of their confession.” Once again we see this aspect of the church reaching to every generation and caring generous hearts that made them stand out as Jesus’ disciples. It is also a characteristic that there is no compulsion to give. In line with scripture, contributing is a heart thing and only for the cheerful givers (2 Cor.9:7). Giving for the marginalised and those in need, especially those in the church family (Gal.6:10), was not an instruction or requirement to belong, it was simply an overflow of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It should be for us too. 

Pray today:

· Pray for the Living Hope Mission fund which last year gave over £80,000 to apostolic mission and charitable causes. Ask God to direct the Elders in the distribution of this money.

· What moves your heart? Is sacrificial giving a characteristic of your witness? Pray into what God is prompting in you through His Holy Spirit.

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