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.