"All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need." Acts 2:44-45
I remember when I got it just like I get the flu, I caught it from someone else. I'll bet you did, too!
To what am I referring?
Faith! Contagious faith, that is!
When I read the second chapter of Acts I see contagious faith on display!
So, as one who would love to see the Church come out of quarantine and start and epidemic of Christianity I asked myself, "What causes a church to become contagious?"
I was able to recognize three traits of a contagious church:
1) Growing people
2) Generous people
3) Genuine people
In my previous post I talked about growing people. Today's verses focus on the second trait of contagious churches - generous people.
That begs the question, "What does it mean to be generous?" Does it mean giving to everything every time a need presents itself? Does it mean giving a large amount to a few needs?
In keeping with the big idea of this message, generosity is defined in terms of what can spread the most "germs" of faith? How can I give in a way that breaks down people's resistance to the faith and makes them more susceptible to "catching" our faith? Where can I get the most spiritual impact from my gift?
Another important concept in these verses is the idea of "getting by with less in order to give more". True generosity is not just giving more because you have more, it about needing less to be able to give more. It is about taking more risks in giving because we have each other's backs.
Some look at the phrase "having everything in common" and see socialism or communism. I look at it an see Christian love. I see responsible stewards being frugal so they can care for their own needs and be able to care for others within the fellowship. That is being generous!
Caring for one another by living on less to give more, fosters a level of love and Christian community that catches the attention of unbelievers and draws them toward the faith.
Furthermore, when needs are cared for within the church that fellowship is prepared to respond to outreach opportunities when they arise. When that happens contagious churches are willing to do what it takes to reach out even if it means selling off some possessions to do it!
Growing people are generous people and growing generous people make a church contagious!