He Ain't A Socialist He's Just Digging Up Dirt
Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. — Acts 4:36-37
So this situation has an interesting nuance. After a first reading, what Barnabas did might appear to be a Christian manifestation of socialism. But it's not because it's a willing act by Barnabas. It wasn't something mandated of him by religious powers or government legislation. It's something he did of his own free will. After a second reading, we might perceive his actions to be extreme generosity, which would fit better with the theme of the previous verses. But after a more careful reading, you'll notice that the text says Barnabas was a Levite. He was a man born into the priestly line of the same lineage of Annas and Caiaphas. These were the two corrupt high priests that held the trial of Jesus and now the trial of Peter and John.
But here is a nuance from history that gives us some insight into this moment. Levites, according to the Law of God, were not allowed to own land. (Joshua 13:33) In fact, owning land put them in violation of the Law because Israel was intended to be their inheritance. Now we don't know why or how Barnabas came about this land, but he's definitely convicted about it and correcting course. It appears to me that while this may look like an act of generosity, it might be better categorized as an act of repentance. I wonder if Barnabas is trying to get some separation from the corruption in the priestly line and is addressing it by digging out the sin he has buried in the dirt.
I think we all have dirt in our past. We have dirt we have buried and have left unaddressed. What if today was the day to dig it up and give it to God? I know this sounds daunting but listen to this. I believe this moment was the transformative moment in Barnabas's life. It was a moment he decided to go all-in. And as a result, Barnabas became one of the great influential people in the life of a man who wrote most of the New Testament — Paul the Apostle.
So are you ready? Give that dirt to God!
ASK THIS: What dirt have you buried that you need to give up?
DO THIS: Give your buried dirt to God. He's waiting for you to give it to him.
PRAY THIS: God, I have buried some sin in my past. I have hidden it. I have lied about it. I have tried to conceal it. But today I want to give it to you.
PLAY THIS: No Longer Slaves — Bethel Music.
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