What does Paul have in mind when he talks about the gift of generosity? Living a generous life is more than just giving a certain percentage of what we have.
Jesus calls us to have a gritty faith. Do we press forward in faithfulness when challenges come or do we instead cower out of fear? Do we trust in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel or do we add our own “Gospel additions”?
In the early church there was an overwhelming culture of sacrifice. There was an assumption that the needy should be cared for, and it was our job to do so. It wasn’t the role of politicians or city policies. And they believed that what the Church could do together was more powerful than any one individual, could do. Ananias and Sapphire are an example of loving self above loving God and loving their neighbor. It’s easy to make a commitment to sacrifice, until you start to feel the sacrifice. Then we want to crawl off the altar, but still get the praise.
A modern day Christian might say that “Faith is personal”. I read alone. Study alone. Pray alone. And now I can even attend church alone. In the book of Acts we see that the Church is deeply communal! While each person owned their faith, they owned it in community. Like an old-time potluck, they brought their gifts and food to share with each other. The result was gladness, generosity, and growth of the community.