September 4: Utopian Truth for Today

Hosea 8:1–10:15; Acts 4:1–37; Job 16:1–9

Wealth often tempts us to materialism, as our possessions make us feel secure, valued, and comfortable. But sometimes the lack of these assets allows this temptation to exert even more power over us, driving us to spend our lives chasing the higher salary, the bigger house, or the new car. Our pursuit of this illusion makes it easy to dismiss passages like Acts 4 as utopian fantasy—ideal for difficult times, perhaps, but hardly realistic.

“Now the group of those who believed were one heart and soul, and no one said anything of what belonged to him was his own, but all things were theirs in common. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. For there was not even anyone needy among them, because all those who were owners of plots of land or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds of the things that were sold” (Acts 4:32–34).

We too easily find ways to distance ourselves from the selfless acts of the early believers. Sell plots of land or houses? Give it all away? That doesn’t seem reasonable. Won’t people take advantage of us? Won’t they grow lazy and begin to feel entitled?

The early church responded differently. They responded to the testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with concrete acts of faith. They saw Christ as Lord over all they previously regarded as their personal possessions. They were so united in purpose and prayer that the things they owned mattered little unless they could be used in service to others—in doing the work of Christ.

No matter where we stand financially, we need a new mindset. If it’s difficult to imagine changing our lifestyle to help someone in need, then we need to examine our hearts. If we cling to the belief that our possessions give us security, value, and comfort, then we need to examine our faith. Either way, we have to assess our possessions, talents, and time, consider the people in our lives, and make decisions that are governed by the values of a new kingdom.

How can you better use your money, possessions, time, and talents to serve others?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]

[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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