“All the believers were of one heart and one soul, and no one said that what he possessed was his own. But to them all things were in common.”
— Acts 4:32
Some people like to say that early in the book of Acts we see an early form of socialism. The early Christians shared what they had, in some cases even by selling their houses and sharing the proceeds so no one had need. But I believe a close look at that passage will reveal that it is in fact antithetical to socialism.
A husband and wife team, Ananias and Sapphira, decided to sell their property, but they kept back a part of the price, told the disciples that they had sold it for more, and then “brought a part of it and placed it at the apostles’ feet.” “Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to deceive the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, was it not your own? [There you have an apostolic confirmation of the right of private property.] And when it was sold, was it not under your authority?…You did not lie to men, but to God’” (Acts 5:2-4). Both husband and wife dropped dead because of their sin of lying.
Not only the property and the means of production, but the results of that production were in the couple’s power, not in the power or the hands of the state. Furthermore, you will notice, that this action was voluntary. And where was the money given? To the church—why that’s enough to give Karl Marx apoplexy! Socialism may sound Christian, but in reality it is anything but.
Lord Jesus, You who are the Giver of all good gifts. Thank You for what You have given me and help me to be generous in sharing, especially with Your people. Help us to be honest in all our dealings with money and to give freely…
BY GOD’S STRENGTH,
WE CAN BE GENEROUS.