People will take notice.
All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[j] to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home[k]and ate their food with glad and generous[l] hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. (Acts 2:44-46)
Even to a culture familiar with communal living, the early church appeared to turn the status quo upside down. Humanity thrives in a pecking order. It feeds our desire for power. It’s no surprise the disciples argued over who would sit at the right hand of Jesus. Sharing does not come naturally. In fact, it demands a cost to self: time, energy finances.
In our culture of independence and a “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” mentality, the early church lived radically. Questions begin to surface:
Did everyone contribute their fair share?
What about those who may have taken advantage of the community and then left?
Yet, scripture doesn’t bother with those nuances. Something big took place. Something that witnessed to transformation. Something rooted outside of this earth.
People took notice.
Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t perfect. It couldn’t be because we aren’t.
But the Holy Spirit is bigger than our idiosyncrasies. We can be generous to each other because God is generous to us.
Does God call all of us to live like them? Community can appear in different forms.
Indeed there are communities around the world which resemble the one found in Acts 2. One of them, the JPUSA community (http://jpusa.org/) is one of my favorite groups with whom I engage.
What does it look like to live Acts 2 while we live scattered among our neighborhoods?
*watching someone’s children for free so they can have respite or work to get back on their feet
*lending use of your appliances to others whose appliances broke down
*starting a neighborhood “little pantry” (http://www.littlefreepantry.org/)
*spending time listening to someone with whom you don’t normally engage
*offering your skills and resources to help someone in need
Living counter culturally involves risk. But Jesus’ call to follow him does not hide that. The benefits outweigh the cons.
And people will take notice.
And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47)
*photocredit: Priscilla Du=Preez @unsplash.com
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