'The book of Acts is about the actions of the apostles, not about their intentions', I heard someone say. That is a good reason for Christians to read that book regularly. It shows how believers under the New Covenant can and should live.
Besides it being a practical book, it is also a book full of colorful characters. The other day I was reading about this Italian guy Cornelius (who invited Jewish Peter for a not-so-kosher meal at his house). The Bible says about him: He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly (Acts 10:2).
Well, there you have it again; a sentence, a single verse that really makes me think. Cornelius was a devout man. What exactly is a devout man? I am asking myself. Being devout has often kind of a negative religious sound. Devout people are fanatic, hypocrite or narrow minded... But what does the Bible say about being devout? Cornelius and all his family were God-fearing, he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
Looking back at one of my previous posts I noticed that the fear of God is a condition for church growth. Fear of God is also an attribute of devout people. God-fearing is being translated in this verse as being a person of:
- generosity and
A devout (God-fearing) person prays much and opens his/her wallet with joy to give GENEROUSLY to those in need. I think this is truly something we have to learn as believers! Recently we asked everyone in our church this question: Make a rough inventory of your expenses (apart from home payments and food). Think about: memberships, magazines, clothes, gadgets, snacks, vacation etc. How does this stand in relationship to your investments in God's Kingdom?
Well, needless to say that it brought about much discussion and comments :) But believe me, it is a great exercise to find out where our heart really lies.