Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 14, 1970

"Lands And Houses"


Jefferson David Tant

`And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common . . . For neither was there among them any that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto each, according as anyone had need" (Acts 4:32-35).

We have all heard wonderful lessons on the Jerusalem church, and the fact that it is a model for us all today, including the great unity and liberality expressed in the passage quoted. We rightly understand that although we are to emulate the unity and liberality of these early Christians, under normal circumstances, it is not necessary that we sell our possessions and bring the monies derived therefrom in order to fulfill the requirements of benevolence. What, then, are we to do with our "lands and houses?" Are they just material possessions that we are to have and enjoy until such a time as we might be faced with a similar circumstance as we find in Jerusalem? Is there no way we can use our houses to the glory of God otherwise? Know assuredly that we can use all our material blessings in God's service! Have you tried hospitality? Have you tried receiving those in need into your home?

Hospitality is one of the characteristics of a Christian, and we are encouraged many times in God's Word to exercise this grace: "Use hospitality one to another without grudging" (I Peter 4:9); "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Heb. 13:2). We note that hospitality is required for widows indeed (I Tim. 5:10) and for bishops (I Tim. 3:2). Since these are in a sense held up as examples for others to follow, we cannot miss the fact that God saw fit to include "given to hospitality" as a must qualification for these to possess.

What do you use your home for? Is it your "cloistered shell" into which you draw yourself so as to avoid contact with humanity? Certainly we all need and desire a certain amount of privacy, but to the exclusion of one of God's requirements — hospitality? So what if the floor is bare, the lamp crooked, and the couch worn? Do you invite people in to admire your trappings, or to enjoy the happiness and warmth of God's family or neighbors and good friends being together? Cannot we encourage one another by our social occasions together? Cannot we "let our light shine" to our non-Christian friends and neighbors as they come into our homes and see the peace, security and happiness that should be a part of the Christian's home? Cannot we do so very much for our young people by providing our homes as a place for them to meet and associate and have a good time?

And what of those who are in need — the elderly with no one to care for them; the unwed mother whose shame is great and who is now in need of a loving environment and encouragement to be faithful to the Lord; the child whose family either cannot or will not provide for it. Can we not use our homes in service to God as we serve these and others as we are able and have the opportunity?

Just what do you use your home for — as a place to serve self, or as a place to serve God by serving others? In the great and final judgment day, what reply will we give and what reply will we receive in response to the Lord's statements: ". . . I was hungry. I was thirsty ... I was a stranger " (Matt. 25:34-46). Brethren, the matter is worthy of our serious consideration.

— 3230 Champlee-Tucker Rd., N. E. Atlanta, Ga. 30341