All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they shared with anyone who was in need. With one accord they continued to meet daily in the temple courts and to break bread from house to house, sharing their meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47
Throughout the west, summertime brings with it the threat of wildfires. Dry forests with downed timber and old growth are especially susceptible. Trees that have grown close to each other coupled with fallen limbs provide fuel on which a fire feeds and spreads rapidly. Thus, thinning the forests and reducing the fuel is a regular practice.
While trees in close proximity are not good for wildfire prevention, that type of closeness is perfect for fueling a spreading fire of the Gospel. This is precisely what we see modeled by the early church in the verses above.
The love and care they had for each other, and for the needy, was so attractive that daily, people were saved and joined the expanding community of believers. In the midst of difficulty and persecution the early church thrived, in large part because they recognized the strength of community and the encouragement that comes with it. The growth of the church was not fueled so much by a brilliant evangelistic strategy, as by putting into practice Jesus’ command to “Love God and Love People”.
Were these people perfect? No. Did they have disagreements? Yes. Did they make mistakes? Certainly. But love, and a recognition of the grace they had received covered the blemishes. And the testimony of their authentic devotion to one another shone like a beacon to the world around them. They became the “city on a hill” that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5. People were drawn to it. They wanted to be a part of it.
We were meant for community. Being part of a body of believers is critical to our growth and the growth of the church. Living the Christian life is simply too hard without it. Will you be part of the fire that spreads the transforming love of Christ to those in the church and to those who are seeking? It is a fire that people can’t help being attracted to.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. Matt. 5:14
Live this week on purpose,