Learning from the Early Church

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who 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."

Lately, I have found myself wondering about life in the early church. I love the picture painted in Acts 2:42-47.

And as I read this passage I have to wonder, where do I fit in this picture? Does my family live a life that shares our blessings freely with those who are in need? Am I meeting with others to encourage them and seeking fellowship with other people who follow Christ? Do I live with a sincere and glad heart?

Maybe this seems like too much to ask. Maybe the bar is set way too high. Life is hard and budgets are tight and I surely don’t want to lose everything trying to help other folks. Right?

The last line of this passage haunts me. Not because it is negative or scary or condemning but because it speaks to what might happen if the church today responded as the early church did.

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47b

When the church responds with compassion, needs are met. When needs are met, people feel loved and seen. When people feel loved and seen, they seek to connect. When they seek to connect, we can share the truth. When they hear the truth, they can come to know--deeply and intimately--the One who loves them best, the One who forgives them, enfolds them, meets their TRUE needs and removes their sins from them as far as the east is from the west.

All around us there are needs. What can we do to be the hands and feet of Christ to those He shows us today? Can we empower our families to meet people where they are and share what we have to help others? And if we did, how would God use our sacrifice to draw people close to Him?

About the author — Nadia Swearingen-Friesen

Nadia Swearingen-Friesen is a writer and national speaker with a passion for empowering parents to approach their families with great intentionality and grace.  Nadia and her husband, Mark, are the parents of four children and live in the Chicago area. Nadia also blogs at http://nadiaswearingen-friesen.com/

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