We've been studying the Bible book of Acts at South Lansing Christian Church. The deeper I go, the more I think it has the potential to ruin my life. Last week I challenged the congregation to have the same attitude that the early church had - that the return of Jesus Christ was imminent. Following his ascension, the disciples returned to Jerusalem and, while they waited for the promised Holy Spirit to arrive, they contemplated Jesus' return. They expected it, even.
You cannot read the rest of Acts without recognizing that the first Christ followers anticipated Jesus return. That is why their priorities were so radically altered. That is how they were able to rid themselves of material baggage the sale of which could do good for others in the here and now, but that would be useless once Jesus returned.
Sell your land and put the money in the offering plate? No big deal. Jesus is coming back. Loan you the stuff that belongs to me? No big deal. It all belongs to Jesus anyway. Shed myself of possessions and use the money for ministry? "I can do that." was the reply of the first believers.
I went home Sunday afternoon after preaching Acts 1:1-11 and my wife and I began listing stuff on eBay and Craig's list. One of the items I listed was my collection of The West Wing DVDs - you know, the television series with Martin Sheen. I love that show, but the fact is I haven't viewed the discs in months. They just sit there on the shelf. I thought, "If they're still sitting there when Jesus returns and I could have sold them and used the money for ministry, how will I explain that to Jesus?"
So tonight, in about 45 minutes I'm going to hand them over to some guy and take his 50 bucks and do some good with it. . . .
UPDATE: Just left the grocery store parking lot where I exchanged my DVDs for $50. Felt like we were doing a drug deal. Got home and walked in to find out that Haiti just had an earthquake. The quake is the most severe in the country's history. The damage is significant. One of the missionaries our church supports, Jose Castillo, is in Port au Prince and cannot be located at the present time.
That $50 will make a difference invested in ministry. The DVDs would not.
What else can I sell?
If I get serious about being an Acts 1 Christian, it might ruin my carefully thought out and scripted life. But then, maybe that is what God wants to happen. Maybe his plan is better off.