Acts 2: 43-47
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
My heart aches when I encounter the needs of others that are bigger that what I can fix. I want others to be better, to get past it and not to allow their need to define them. All my training and years of experience want to help get people past their need. But that does not always happen on my schedule. Do you know the experience of caring for someone else in their need and wish you could do more?
On Sunday, we read about the early church coming together to share all they had as they worshipped God daily. They pooled their resources to meet the needs of each other. What a joyous moment in church history that must have been. However, dynamics changed as the church grew.
As the church grew larger, it became impossible to meet needs in the same way as that intimate First Church of Jerusalem did. The church no longer lived in such a communal relationship. There were too many people from to many backgrounds making it impossible to always know the needs or be able to meet them.
But they did learn two valuable lessons from their history. One was you cannot give what you do not have. They discovered the necessity of placing themselves in the presence of God. Their worship and spiritual practices served many purposes not the least of which was to have full hearts and souls and peace to give to others. If our souls are dry, usually the only gifts we have to give are impatience, judgment and guilt.
Secondly, they were able to meet others in their need and remain present to them for as long as necessary. Healing, hope and the ability to take the next steps to move forward can take a long time and sometimes seem to never arrive. The church learned relationships are as important as results. While we wait with others in their time of need, new discoveries of grace can be discovered blessing us all. In our time of need, we need people we can depend on and trust. That is the gift the church learned and can share.
The church eventually discovered one more critical lesson. Everyone has need and all will have times when we have acute need. So while we learn to help others, we are creating a community of faith we can rely on too!
- What are you doing on a continually basis to keep your heart, soul and mind grounded in Christ and filled spiritually?
- Are you ready to love and care for others in their time of need and remain present to them no matter how long their need remains?
Next week…..The Importance of a Meal Together