THE SERVANT GENERAL
EVERYTHING IN COMMON
April 15, 2012
Today’s reading: Acts 4:32-35
Massive poverty is a scourge in the world. This is even more
so considering God created a world of abundance. There is
more than enough for everyone, even for double the world population
today. The problem is inequitable distribution of wealth and
resources, and the lack of sharing.
there is a solution. In fact, the first Christian community
after Pentecost already solved the problem of poverty. “There
was no needy person among them” (Acts 4:34a). What needs
First, we take on the mind of God and not the mind of the
world. The world’s solution to poverty, aside from physically
getting rid of the poor, would be to make the poor rich. That
seems to make sense. The opposite of poverty seems to be wealth.
So to combat poverty, the natural direction is creation of
wealth. This is why the world emphasizes economic development,
exploitation of natural resources, responsive socio-political
structures, capitalism, etc. But many decades of these have
not alleviated poverty. In fact, poverty seems more widespread
than ever and is deepening.
is God’s mind on poverty? Poverty is the lack of basic
necessities of life, such as food, clothing and shelter. If
one has basic necessities with which to live a decent life
with respect as a human being and a child of God, then that
person, according to God’s standards, is no longer poor.
In other words, what is needed is for one’s needs to
be provided for. The solution to poverty is not to make the
poor rich (though some of them might become rich also) but
to provide adequately for their needs.
is God’s way? It is through caring and sharing.
“the community of believers was of one heart and mind”
(Acts 4:32a). We must love each other as brethren, and become
our brothers’ keepers. We must know that we are one
body, where everyone shares joys and sorrows. We are all journeying
together and no one gets left behind.
“no one claimed that any of his possessions was his
own” (Acts 4:32b). This is stewardship. It is recognizing
that everything belongs to God, even what we call our own.
God has His claim on what has been merely entrusted to us.
We stand ready to share what we hold in trust.
“they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32c).
This does not mean we put all our money in one bank account.
The first Christians still individually owned assets and properties.
But these were held in stewardship and used according to how
God wanted them used, for the good of all.
when the need arose, “those who owned property or houses
would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them
at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to
each according to need.” (Acts 4:34b-35). This was the
way by which those in need had their needs met, such that
there was no needy person among them.
Just like with the first Christian community under the apostles,
we too can be witnesses in today’s world and experience
great favor from the Lord, as we love and care for our brethren,
such that there is no one in need. “With great power
the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord
Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” (Acts