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Total Transformation

And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved. (Acts 2:44-47, MSG)

When the Day of Pentecost comes, we find the disciples in an upper room. According to John 20:19 they were hiding -- locked in with fear, locked up with silence, and locked out from changing their community. They are paralyzed from doing any sort of proclamation or good work.

But then the Holy Spirit arrives, and suddenly everything is different. They find their voice for telling the story of Jesus. They find the courage to do good works; believing that by sharing their resources they can eliminate all need within their community. And it works!

The Holy Spirit (which they have earnestly prayed for) gives them the power to tell the story of Jesus and to share in such a way as to provide everyone in the community with the basics for life. People on the outside find it compelling, and they want in. The disciples are worshiping God, doing evangelism, and practicing compassion -- potent acts of stewardship -- and the church grows.

This is the power of holistic stewardship. This is the real work of generosity. It changes you. It changes the world. It unlocks you from fear and anxiety and opens you up to the abundance and provision of God, which never fail.

For Focus and Reflection: What kind of gift would change me to be closer to the person I want to be?

Prayer: As I prepare to make commitment to my congregation, let me do so with the belief that it will change me and the world in which I live. Amen.

Community of Prayer Stewardship Devotional
Copyright ©2016 by Bruce A. Barkhauer
Permission to copy & email given by Center for Faith and Giving
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