Communities of believers sharing in needs
Acts 4:32–35 (ASV)
32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul: and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34For neither was there among them any that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35and laid them at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto each, according as any one had need.
Acts 6:1–6 (ASV)
Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables. 3Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4But we will continue stedfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the word. 5And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch; 6whom they set before the apostles...
Kagawa advocated that the church should be more than just a place for ethical discussions, it should be a place of love and helping each other. The result was nothing short of a social revolution.
Led by Jing Dianying, the Jesus Family was a body of believers, much like the early church who lived communally and shared whatever they had with others. And though they faced much scorn and persecution, they moved from town to town, preaching Jesus to all who cared to listen and winning souls for the Kingdom in the process.
Three beautiful stories show the Christians across China sacrificially sharing in each other's needs as the early church did, and ensuring that the needy among them were not left to their fate, but taken care of.
David Adeney met a young man who became a Christian because of the witness of his Christian neighbors. There was no church meeting in his community as the government had arrested the house-church leader, yet his neighbors discipled him and cared for one another by tithing their money.
Mr. Lee had just been released from prison, but had to sneak into China from North Korea in desperate bid to save his family from starvation. Once in China, he was surrounded by the loving care of the Christian brethren there, who, led by Mrs. Pak, made sure to take care of not just his temporal, but also his spiritual needs.
As the war raged on, leaving the otherwise lush fields of Slovenia stained with blood and desolate, believers gathered together to share in the needs of one another. Urged on by Pastor Jakob, they shared whatever they had with those who did not have.
As the church in Moravia was persecuted, believers got together in safe districts and lived communally. Like the early church, they shared in each other's needs, provided refuge to many and experienced much spiritual blessings.
When the need arose for a church building, the believers from the several villages in the Madras island came together and ensured that their collective need was met. The men, women and even children were all involved, with songs of praise on their lips, they were united in this labour of love.
When at the dedication of a church, it was found that the church still owed $50, a poor member stood up and offered to repay the loan - he sold his only mule, for he “couldn't bear to have the Church of Jesus Christ owing a $50 debt to a heathen.”
When an opportunity came to get a permanent site for a poor Korean church, the women sold not only their jewelry but also their valued kitchen utensils to raise the needed amount. They went even further in their giving, and committed money to sending out a woman evangelist to the heathen around them.