Monday, August 14, 2023
Some of the earliest influential leaders in the early Jesus movement were very generous, influencing others to be generous. Barnabas led the way in Jerusalem to help those who were impoverished by generously selling his property and giving the proceeds to help those in need.&nbs; Seven men were carefully chosen to help ensure widows who did not speak Aramaic and were not from Jerusalem or Judea. God prompted their concern about the daily care of poor widows.  Some of these men, like Philip and Stephen,  became great leaders in the Jerusalem church. Stephen as a faithful witness who died testifying to Jesus  and Philip, who first shared the Good News of Jesus with the Samaritans.  Their examples led the followers of Jesus to be generous with believers in other parts of the world throughout the first three decades of the early Jesus movement. 
This emphasis on blessing and helping each other was so significant that at the crucial conference that determined once and for all that Gentiles should be accepted into the family of God when they came to Jesus,  concern for helping the poor was mentioned to Paul, and those who were leading Gentiles to Christ.  This was something Paul was not only eager to do,  but also regularly practiced in his ministry. 
If we want to be disciples of Jesus like the first followers of Jesus, we are going to take care of each other. However, Christian generosity doesn't mean letting lazy people take advantage of the generosity of their fellow believers,  but practicing the principle Paul addressed forcefully in his teaching:
[Paul told the Ephesian elders,] "I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus' how he himself said, 'It is more blessed t" give than to receive.' " 
Father, open my ears to hear and eyes to see my brothers and sisters' physical and financial needs in Christ. Use me to minister, bless, and support them in ways that are appropriate to their needs, consistent with how You have richly blessed me, and build up the fellowship of believers. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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