Thought for the Day by Jan Betts from All Hallows’:
At All Hallows we have been working through a sermon series called Acts for an Activist church. Last Sunday we thought about generosity, and how Paul encouraged all sorts of generosity in the early church, not least giving money to help out poorer churches.
In Acts 4 we read about how the early church was so bursting with love for each other that people gave money joyfully, didn’t hold things as private property and no one went in need. It’s an awesome picture. It’s also not easy to imagine this being sustained. All sorts of things get in the way of us living together in loving generosity.
In the case of Ananias and Saphira, who sold some land and then lied to the church about how much of the profits they shared, one could guess at a number of reasons for lying. They felt pressured into saying they had given it all because others were very generous, and it was what the church leaders encouraged. They may have wanted to be well thought of. They may even have been newcomers who wanted to prove their credentials. Whatever it was, they lied and paid a heavy price. The crime wasn’t not being generous. The crime was lying about their relationship with their fellow Christians. We’re not asked to give everything. We are asked to respond in love, as we feel we can, to the upside down economic order of the Kingdom of God, where the poor are lifted up and the rich sent away empty.
At All Hallows, where we don’t have many resources of money, we do have the resource of Rainbow Junktion café and wonderful paid and volunteer staff who week in week out, right through all the pandemic, collect food, cook, staff the shop, provide music for the queue and above all feed the hungry and lift their spirits. It’s not easy to sustain. And we are so grateful for the generosity of everyone in our team of St Chad’s, St Michael’s and ourselves who faithfully and lovingly share their resources of time and energy and money with us to continue that work. It really feels like a little bit of early church togetherness, done quietly and lovingly and without wanting any status. Thank you.