‘All the believers were together and had everything in common.’
These words of sharing that we find in Acts 2:44 are a beautiful look at a community working together. Yet it is not something that we can imagine very easily while living in the world, especially at a time when people are struggling with the cost of living crisis whilst newspapers report record profits for some companies. We look around at the need for food banks, pay-day loan companies and increasing financial support requirements and it is hard to think of a time when people came together in this loving and supporting way.
The early church was beginning something new, they had heard the good news of Jesus Christ and they had heard of his life and works and they saw the need for community and fellowship. They devoted themselves to the teachings of Jesus and came together knowing how they could respond to the good news.
At this point in Acts we find that there has been an influx of more than 3,000 people into the early church, many of them in Jerusalem and many of them without jobs. They relied on each other completely. Some of the members would have been well off and they knew how they should respond to the call to love from Christ. We shouldn’t see this as some early form of communism. This wasn’t the church taking charge of the wealth of the many, but rather this was voluntary, temporary and was limited in its scope. As we continue through Acts and the letters of Paul we see that the need of the church went beyond these early meetings and would be filled by other churches as they were planted and grew.
Putting it into practice
What does this look like in our churches in this day and age? How are we to come together and have everything in common?
As you look around your churches and your missionary boards, I wonder how well you know the needs of those you call your church family? Does your relationship with them go beyond Sunday into the rest of the week? When you hear of the work of your mission partners do you dwell on the ways in which you can support them either financially or in prayer?
As we look at the early church and the way in which they came together we should be inspired to do likewise. This doesn’t just mean that we are expected to do so in financial ways but in all ways. We should come together in our needs and support one another in our daily lives. We should be there for each other when our mental health is suffering, when the stress of life becomes too much to bear alone or when personal needs become apparent.
The early church is a great show of love that transcends the weekly service. These people came and shared their lives together, their needs, their problems and surely their good news too. They were people who truly had all things in common in the Lord.
We should take this example on board in our church families. They are to be places of honesty, generosity and love. We should be able to come with our issues and find support, come with our thanksgiving and find joyful praise of God and in this sharing we should find love based in the Lord.