In Bible study yesterday and Acts 4:32-36 was read and reflected on. The group was reflecting on the wonderful nature of communal living and sharing all things. And it is a wonderful thing to consider this sort of living. It is this ideal living which draws me to the Neo-monastic lifestyle.
However I could not help but wonder if the original hearers would have tuned in on the communal living part of the story. I mean community living was very much a normal part of life in the first century (and in many places today). To hear of a community living and sharing together does not seem to strike me as hard if I lived in community than it does if I lived in an individualistic community. I think this might be why we tend to focus on this part of the story.
However, I was drawn to the second part: "Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet." I think what is remarkable here is the fact that a Levite, that is one of the priests of the day, willingly gave up power and position by selling and laying the money at the feet of the representatives of Jesus. This is a guy who had a lot of power (I mean look at his name, they make it sound like he is well known and comes from a well known family) and he just gives it up for the church.
I think there is a greatness to the communal living, but how much greater is the example of this Levite? Am I willing to give up my privilege, position and power and put it at the feet of the community of Jesus? Or will I continue to preserve some of my power and privilege from the community of Jesus (as the next part of the story goes into)?