Daily Devotion for May 16, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Kyrie Eleison by an Orthodox Serbian, Divna Ljubojevic. It sounds strange to Western ears, but it is hauntingly beautiful.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.
Acts 4:32-37 (CEB)
Sharing among the believers
The community of believers was one in heart and mind. None of them would say, "This is mine!" about any of their possessions, but held everything in common. The apostles continued to bear powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and an abundance of grace was at work among them all. There were no needy persons among them.
Those who owned properties or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds from the sales, and place them in the care and under the authority of the apostles. Then it was distributed to anyone who was in need.
Joseph, whom the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (that is, "one who encourages"), was a Levite from Cyprus. He owned a field, sold it, brought the money, and placed it in the care and under the authority of the apostles.
Notes on the Scripture
The first followers of Christ practices an early and extreme form of communal living. All assets were held in common under an agreed leader; those with private property sold it and contributed it to the general fund. Nobody was allowed to go hungry, but it appears that none of them retained any valuable property, such as houses.
It was different from a monastery. People had families, and there is no record of the vows, particular garb, or formal hierarchy that are typical of a monastery. They were so filled with the excitement of the Holy Spirit that they simply didn't want to be burdened with property. They automatically adopted Christ's teaching to the man in Matthew 19:21.
Is it a requirement to live like this, to be a “real Christian”? Absolutely not. Love of money, however, is the root of much evil, and this lesson provides a good opportunity for us to examine our own feelings about possessions and money.
Christ promised that God will provide us a basic living. It is helpful to read Matthew 6 (or at least the last section) from time to time; it is one of the most important parts of the New Testament.
Craving after expensive possessions is a sin — one that I pray to be forgiven for often! Christ never said that we could not have them. He did say that we could not love them, and he also said that we must look after our poor brethren. If we have food, and clothing, and a warm dry place to live, we should give thanks for it and remember that it is sufficient for earthly happiness.