To start things off; if you think the church is the building you go into once, maybe twice a week to worship, take a closer look at 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27. In that passage Paul says we (Christians) are all part of one body, the body of Christ, His church. So being, we all have our purpose yet work together for His glory. In the early church believers pooled all of their resources, even if it meant selling all of their land, so that all were taken care of. It’s pretty amazing to think about; that people who are of no blood relation would be so willing to take care of each other with such a sacrificial love. But then, they were called to love one another as Christ loved them. And His love lead Him to give the ultimate sacrifice. This commandment of love was not just for the early church, but for all believers. We know about it, we read about it, but how often to we actually experience it?
There is no coincidence that my pastor preached out of Acts chapter 2 this morning for his sermon, “A Grace Built Church.” A lot of ideas about church today are so very different from when the church first began. We are meant to be doing so much more than just making an appearance every Sunday, saying polite hellos, singing, and listening to a sermon. Perhaps it will be helpful to take a look at how the church conducted business when it was new.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. 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 2:42-47
I, myself, have been blessed to be on the receiving end of this kind of love & fellowship this past week. On Friday I was in great need of prayer. I was able to contact some of my church family and within minutes I had replies of prayers, encouragements, and even a couple phone calls. This morning I spoke with a Brother about the decision I have to make about going to Michigan as my grandmother is not well. I would typically drive the 12+ hours over 2 days, or sometimes straight through. He offered to get me a plane ticket with miles he and his wife had saved. After a similar conversation a Sister offered to drive with me if I ended up driving. This same afternoon I was also simply handed some money to assist with a need I’ve had. I was struck by these great kindnesses and I felt so blessed to be a part of it all.
As I was driving home I really thought about it. I often feel
left out, no, on the sidelines, no that’s not quite right either…perhaps more like I’m missing something, because I am single. But I will also be one of the first to say that that is not true. God has provided for me, in these instances and many, many more, through the amazing church family He led me to. I pray I’m able to pass the blessings along. There are always things we can do better, but I think we have a good part of Acts 2 working within our family, all for the glory of God.
So what is it you could be doing to help your family? Maybe it’s gathering together to help a Sister move. Perhaps God’s leading you to help support a member of your church to go on a mission trip. Spend some time with an elderly Sister or Brother who might be on their own. Invite a new couple to dinner. Be available to the mom who just might need some time on her own. Whatever it is, I encourage you to follow His lead. You probably do not have to go so far as to sell your possessions to help a Brother or Sister out, but would you be willing to? If we are to be known by our love, let’s put those words into action and make them evident. Can you imagine all of those who would be “filled with awe” (insiders and outsiders alike) by witnessing such acts of love?
If you do not know this kind of community I’m writing about because you do not have a church family of your own, I encourage you to start searching for one. It is so hard to be a part of all of this if we are by ourselves. It’s not easy and it’s not always a comfortable experience, but when you’ve found it, you will definitely know.
Love & Blessings,