The New Testament book of Acts gives us two great descriptions of the Church. In Acts chapter 2 it describes the new believers as meeting together, studying, and praying. It says that people were selling things and giving to those who had needs. Acts chapter 4, verses 32 through 37, provide this compelling picture of a Church that is unified and meeting needs within their community of faith.
Within these stories, we are only given one detail, a man named Joseph also called Barnabas sold a field and gave the proceeds to the Apostles. The primary reason for this little nugget of information is because that man will go on to be a Church planter and leader in the coming years.
Think about this for a few minutes. We have no details about what exactly the Church was doing. I would have said, “Forty-three families showed up and fed 231 meals on average each night.” I would have wanted to give everyone a detailed account of what was going on in our Church. I might have posted a few pictures to social media and give it a cool hashtag. There is this desire within me as a Church leader to let everyone know all the good things we are doing. If everyone knows about all the good stuff we are doing in the name of Jesus, and then it will shine his light even brighter and make people proud of their Church. I mean, the early Church counted converts and told us about it, why do they give us no details about their benevolence?
Maybe it is because Jesus had warned the Church about doing their “acts of righteousness” before men. He said our heavenly father sees what is done in secret. Perhaps the Church respected the privacy of people and did not one anyone to be embarrassed. They did not want the people who receive the gifts to feel like they were a “project.” Possibly the early believers did not understand the potential of marketing our goodness for the benefit of the kingdom. Whatever the reason for their silence, those first believers left us an example of silence. The ministry of the Church was done without fanfare or publicity.
I think the Church today and all its believers could learn from their example. In an age of social media, there is a possibility of misusing our good works. I believe the best work of the Church is done in secret. It is hidden from the public eye and the media’s attention. It is visible to the Heavenly Father, and he is the only one who needs to know.
So put the camera away and get out there and do something in the name of Jesus. No one needs to see, know, or offer you praise for it. God is most glorified when we are the least noticed.