32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Can we imagine such a community? These early believers had what they needed to thrive. They weren’t competing over things. Instead “they shared everything they had.” People really gave and helped one another. Through prayer and thanksgiving, these first Christians shared based on the needs of individuals within the group, and not based on their independent wants and desires.
These followers of the Way experienced the joy of living but without competition and equality. Yes, that’s right, I’m saying without equality. What people received was not based on just their equal measure, but based on the portion of their need. Today, we may say that such communal living is either an utopian dream or just give it a disparaging label. In doing so, perhaps we cast the whole experience as an improbable or disparaging way to live. And yet, Jesus’ first followers did live this way. This is the testimony of the apostles. They lived in community with joy and true love in their hearts. This way of living is really not so unusual to us, because this is how we live within our loving families. Think about it, does everyone in your family really receive the same treatment? No, because we have different needs. If you are a parent, do you really think that you have treated every child just the same? Or do we, as loving people, try to give our family members just what each truly needs? To keep such a community going, we do it all for love!
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
The followers of Jesus and the apostles lived in this most basic community –the loving family. It may have sounded like utopia but in reality, our church is an example of community that really is a loving family. How can the loving family of our church help support your needs? How might you in turn lovingly support the needs and ways of our church family? I encourage you to call or connect to another church family member today.
Prayer: Brother Jesus, we pause in awe of the loving community and family that the earliest believers became in your honor. We celebrate their love and commitment to you! We are thankful for the words and ways that they have shown us. With our church family and all families, we ask for tender peace, as we share your love for all. Amen.