During our series “Simple”, we talked all about the community from Acts 2:42-47 and how we can live out that community today. One week of that series we focused particularly on fellowship. Acts 2:44-45 says, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” We asked the question what would this type of fellowship look like for us today? Here is one story about how a need was met and the ripple effect that can come when a body of believers exercise biblical generosity.
In the last year, Margaret has found herself in the ER more times than ever before.
“The scary medical issues started right when I moved out on my own,’ Margaret said, ‘I was apart from my parents and had recently graduated.” Her symptoms continued to develop, but doctors couldn’t find any concrete cause. The frequency of ER visits and lack of a diagnosis were enough for doctors to prescribe a heart monitor. Margaret wore it for over a month. “It was a constant reminder that my body wasn't working the way God designed it to. I constantly felt the devil trying to convince me that I was never going to get better.”
Unfortunately, the heart monitor didn’t dispel medical confusion and increased Margaret’s financial stress, leaving her with more questions than answers. In the tension between trust and fear, Margaret found rest in God’s comfort instead of giving herself over to worst case scenarios. “I found that relying on God gave me joy amidst what many, including myself, would think as hopeless and depressing. My attitude changed when I realized that I am constantly being provided for even when the world tells me that everything is falling apart.”
Margaret acknowledged that God lavishly gave joy to offset the swirling circumstances, but it didn’t change the fact that finances were tight and Margaret was stretched beyond her capacity to pay. “I realized I needed help when I was out of money and was going to max out a credit card to make my medical payments on time. I had called the billing agencies and received the lowest payment plans possible, but it was still too much.”
When Margaret heard Reach’s As Any Have Need sermon, she initially didn’t consider herself a contender. “I was actually reluctant to post my need on the website. I struggled with asking for help; I was embarrassed that I couldn't provide for myself.” She spent weeks convincing herself if she just worked a few more shifts or sold things around the house, she would be able to make ends meet.
But ultimately, her doubled efforts could not compete with the mounting financial pressure. “I knew there were needs more dire. Everyone asks for money, why was my request any different? I just really felt God telling me to trust Him and put in the request.”
Less than 48 hours later she received word that her financial need had been met by an anonymous donor. “I cried like a baby. I was extremely overwhelmed.” But it wasn’t just the generosity of the gift, the timing played a huge part in what Margaret was learning about the character of God.
“By no means do I think a poor work ethic is an excuse to ‘let God provide’; I do believe that working hard is important. But God didn't say ‘Okay, now that you're ready you have to wait.’ It was not even close to that. He was there, ready and waiting. I learned that His love, however undeserved, is not rationed or conditional. It's not by obedience or disobedience. It's simply just because; because He loves us and wants the best for us.”
Margaret identified her donor’s gesture as a reflection of the gospel: the simplicity of what Jesus Christ died for on the cross. “I didn't deserve it. I did nothing to earn it. In fact, I was reluctant to trust God with my needs in the first place. I couldn't have felt less deserving, and yet I was overcome by what selfless love in the body of Christ looks like.”