Read Acts 4:32-37
Happiness Does Not Come From Stuff
One of the most impressive men we read about in the book of Acts who was not an apostle was a man named Barnabas. Actually, that wasn’t his name. His name was Joses, but the apostles called him Barnabas. Luke explains that the name Barnabas “is translated Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). When we are first introduced to Barnabas, his grand generosity is demonstrated. Luke says that Barnabas was “a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37). The man’s primary concern was to care for those in need.
This was the attitude of many in the early church, as Luke explains that they “were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common” (Acts 4:32). He further wrote that “all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need” (Acts 4:35).
How different were these followers of Jesus than the typical worldly person! So many people are focused on obtaining more things, not giving them away. But how many of those people can claim true happiness because of their material possessions?
Jesus encountered a man who was obsessed with his stuff. The young man wanted to be assured of eternal life, and he asked Jesus which commands he needed to keep. The Lord rattled off a number of God’s laws, and the man said, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I lack?” (Matthew 19:20).
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21). The result was sorrow in the man’s heart, not because he had to part with his things, but because he refused to!