Retirement Plan

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…” “[Those who followed Christ] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:17, 42-47
The wooden chest was decorated in a style of a bygone era.  My grandmother thought it would make a good toy chest for me.  I was a teenager and didn’t think I needed a toy chest.  What’s more, the wooden chest looked like it was just waiting to dole out splinters to any and all who attempted to pick it up.  But my grandmother persisted and the look in my mother’s eyes told me that I would be accepting this gift with gratitude.
As my grandmother grew older she began to give away more and more.  She gave time and energy to her church.  She gave away keepsakes and heirlooms to loved ones.  With each passing year she gave away more of the life she had accumulated.
I think this is a common experience.  As we feel our end coming we give more of ourselves away.  Perhaps we want to ensure that particular items are passed down through the generations.  Perhaps we want to share with others the joyful memories bound up in the mementos we keep. Or maybe, seeing the end gives us a new perspective on the people and things around us.
The Pentecost experience in the book of Acts was connected to an “end times” prophecy found in prophet Joel.  Could it be that those early followers felt free to share of themselves because they believed the end was near?  Perhaps.  Yet whatever the motivation or correlation between the Holy Spirit’s stirring and the belief in Christ’s return, the effects were powerful.  Take a minute to reflect on how the passage describes that early church.
 Generosity.
 Compassion.
 Community.
 Devotion.
 Gladness.
 Joy.
 Faith.
If this is the kind of fruit that is brought to bear, then it might be worth trying to live, now, like the end is near.