“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.. 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 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”
It’s frighteningly easy to become disheartened. We read every day about acts of greed; we see videos of our compatriots pummeling one another over a sale on a toaster; we even see it in our own lives. The world is rife with people acting in their own interests to the detriment of others and, sadly, many of them are fellow Christians.
But before you cue the sad Charlie Brown music, take heart. Transcendent, Christ-like acts of pure altruistic beauty are still alive and well.
A small church down in South Florida did something this past Sunday that is so radically counter-cultural, counter-intuitive and counter-worldly, it will bring a tear to your eye.
Here’s the story from my friend and Pastor of Miami Vineyard Community Church, Kevin Fish:
“The Naples Vineyard is a church of approximately 75 people and is roughly five years old. Its Pastor, Ed Ryerson, was just hitting his stride when he discovered he had cancer earlier this year. Doctors thought it was treatable, but his body did not respond to the treatments; in fact, the cancer spread more aggressively.
As I was jogging recently, I heard God tell me to give them the entire weekend offering. I told our church about God speaking to me and they responded. We combined the offerings of our five services together and made a road trip to surprise them with a check for $75,000.
Now, I was asking them to give money to an unknown church, make a four hour trip, and do it on Thanksgiving weekend. Not exactly a clarion call that inspires the masses to movement. But, they came out in force. [Below is the caravan of believers headed to Naples.]
Earlier that week, Ed had gone into hospice care and they said there was no way he was going to be able to make it for the service. We believe God did a supernatural work in allowing him a 15 minute window to be there and to SEE this offering this side of heaven:
After we gave away the offering, Ed’s son told me through tears that his Dad had everything in place for his departure except the financial piece and then you guys come and give us this check. He could not believe what was happening at that moment. It was surreal. It felt like heaven broke out.”
Here is the video of people rejoicing and shedding tears by using their money for things that moth and rust can never touch: