We’ve had a tough week in Bowling Green. At least 6 families from our church family have had major situations in which they need prayer. This is heavy stuff, and some of the situations are deeply joyful, some are deeply mournful, and others are not as threatening, but equally stressful for all involved.
In Acts 2:42-4:37, the disciples began doing something they had not formerly done. They became a family. A community. They sold what they had and gave to the poor amongst them. Consider the following text:
Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
What an amazing testimony of the power of Christ in these people! I don’t read in this, that they became a cult, or a commune, but a faith community. They became part of one another, because they undoubtedly understood things that we often do not.
Remember, they had the Apostles with them. Men who were with Jesus daily, men who experienced his kindness, his sternness, his grace, and his love. How else would the early disciples have learned to “share everything they had?” What I think was going on, was that these men had begun teaching and undoubtedly modelling the love that Jesus said they must do. After all, he said, “by this will all men know that you are my disciples; that you love one another.”
Ok, I can’t provide jobs for people necessarily, nor can I drop a big check in the hands of my needy brothers and sisters always. But what can I do? FIND something to do. Do what I can. Pray. Share my goods, share my home, share my ear, my love, my prayers. Give them time and spend time with they who are in need of a brother or sister’s encouragement.
There’s an interesting dynamic that I am NOT through studying; that is, what was so amazing about the blood of Christ that changed this community? After all, this was not a group of weird people who were viewed as oddballs and freaks in the 1st Century Jewish society. These were people who “prais(ed) God and enjoy(ed) the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Ax 2:47)
Favor of ALL the people? Why don’t we come out of our shell, Christians? How utterly true are the words of this great song by Casting Crowns:
But if we are the Body
Why aren’t His arms reaching
Why aren’t His hands healing
Why aren’t His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren’t His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
There is a way.
How can we improve? Are we more concerned with doctrine and doctrinal purity than love? Are we more concerned with rituals and traditions than listening and praying with our friends?
God be merciful to me for not being a worthy disciple. Lord, you are holy, and your son is holy – through whom we may approach you. Your Spirit enables us to be your children. Lord, bring your spirit on us. Help me to be neither hostile toward any Christians, heritage, or background that I find stifling. Help me to embrace Jesus, and us (your people) to be passionate followers so that your people are highly regarded in the world. Please Lord, help us to be your body in this world! Forgive my foolish ways and sins, and be continually working out your perfection in my life through your Spirit. Jesus, empower me to sit at your feet and listen to you. Help me to make you real again, and listen. I believe Lord, but I struggle. I am heavy right now with many thoughts and concerns of those in our immediate family of believers, and I pray that you will hear our prayers and bless them all with what you know they need. Amen.