I’m sharing highlights from my reading of William Willimon’s definitive book on pastoral ministry called “Pastor.” Today, I share a quote from a section discussing Acts 4 and every pastor’s favorite topic — inviting people to give their money away!
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (Acts 4:32-35)
“Here is the church’s strongest visible evidence of the truth of resurrection — a resurrected community in which old, deadly economic and social arrangements have been overturned. Here is truly “testimony to the resurrection” in this transformed people. Here is the world recreated as God meant it to be, where “there was not a needy person among them,” and all things are seen as gifts entrusted to us by God rather than possessions to be tightly grasped. Each Sunday’s offering is meant to be a revolutionary, countercultural, and prophetic act for the church. There are few more inflammatory and potentially disruptive acts than when the pastor stands and announces to the congregation that it is now time for the offering. Here embodied before the congregation on Sunday is what the pastor ought to be doing all week — demanding that we give God what is rightly God’s, that we show that our money is where our hearts are (Matt. 6:21), and that by God’s grace we are able to feel the needs of someone other than ourselves, that we are being transformed from takers into givers, that we give material, visible, monetary testimony to the Resurrection.”