“There was not a needy person among them,
for as many as owned lands or houses sold them
and brought the proceeds of what was sold.
They laid it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.’”
–Acts 4:34

Acts 4:32-5:16

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The generosity of believers is celebrated yet again.

Acts 4:32-35 is the second of three passages describing how believers practiced sacrificial giving to aid members of their community who were in need (see also Acts 2:44-45 and 11:29).

Joseph, also known as Barnabas (son of encouragement) is celebrated as an example for us to emulate in the practice of giving. He sells a field and brings the proceeds to the apostles to be distributed to the poor.

This is contrasted with the actions of Ananias and his wife Sapphira. They want the community to believe they are just as generous as Barnabas so they hatch a plan to only give a portion of the proceeds they receive from a field they sell.

Ananias makes a big show of bringing the proceeds to lay before the feet of the disciples in order to receive the same accolades. Instead, he is confronted and judged for his duplicity.

Peter tells him that he was free to do whatever he wanted with the field while it was his. He was also free to use the proceeds however he wanted to after it was sold. What cannot be allowed is for him and his wife to pretend they are more generous than they are.

The principle celebrated in Acts and throughout the New Testament is the joy of generosity flowing from hearts set free from the golden shackles that bind all who love wealth (mammon) more than God (see Matthew 6:24 ).

Today, spend some time reflecting on 2 Corinthians 9:7,

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”