Roman Catholic Theologian François Fénelon (1651 – 1715) was very daring to write a book entitled Christian Perfection, but his words still have much to say to us today:
Those who are God’s are always glad, when they are not divided, because they only want what God wants and want to do for him all that he wishes. They divest themselves of everything, and in this divesting find a hundredfold return.François Fénelon, Christian Perfection.
Can you say you are always glad? None of us can claim this, really, for we have yet to reach the perfection of complete harmony, not only with God but with other believers in Christ. I am so looking forward to that day. Still, in those early days after Pentecost, we catch a glimpse of what true self-divestment could do.
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. 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 that there were no needy persons among them.Acts 4:32-34a NIV
Imagine what it would have been like during the early days of the church. Not only did you have the apostles preaching the good news of Jesus on a daily basis, but as part of the crowd, you perhaps caught a glimpse of him yourself during those last eventful days of the crucifixion and resurrection.
The presence of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and also on the initial three thousand who were baptized during Pentecost must have been overwhelming for the city of Jerusalem. It wasn’t just the magnitude of the number of people claiming faith in Christ which proved revolutionary, but how it made them change and act.
Not only were they constantly gathered to hear more about Christ, but they shared all they had and even sold possessions to make sure needs were being met. The Feast of Pentecost brought Jews and God-seekers from around the known world. The conversion of so many people kept them in the city for longer than expected, but God was glorified in this as the new believers from Jerusalem divested of their own possessions to provide for those in need.
When there is a need, the church gladly helps. Do you sense a need to which God calls you to help today? Will it require a divesting of self? Pray about it and unite yourself with his purpose. The blessing you receive in being willing to give is always greater than the sacrifice you choose to offer.
Grace and Peace