Community is important; it’s a part of who we are; what we were created to be.
“It seems that we humans were designed to find our purpose and meaning not simply in ourselves and our own inner lives, but in one another and in the shared meanings and purposes of a family, a street, a workplace, a community, a town, a nation. When we describe someone as a “loaner,” we’re not necessarily saying the person is bad, simply that he or she is unusual”
-N.T. Wright, “Simply Christian”
When was the last time you read Acts? Sorry – that may have come off as a bit accusatory – I certainly didn’t mean it that way. Let’s try that again! Have you read the book of Acts? Is it’s material fresh on your mind? Quick – what’s the number one… theme from the work? What’s a major concept that runs through the work?
There are a few, and it’s probably a little difficult to nail down just one theme. I apologize, should I have made you uncomfortable with not knowing so readily what that theme might have been. One of the larger concepts of the book, though, is community.
The early church was a lot of things: kind of a mess, confused (they did just witness their leader float up through some clouds, after all), and a little disorganized; but they stuck together; they did everything together. They broke bread, prayed, ate, slept, gathered and sold their possessions, and took care of everyone as he had need (). They did life together. They were as one body.
That’s not to say that they were perfect – Ananias and Sapphira’s () shady dealings should be a fairly clear example of that – but they were always a part of each other’s lives. They lived in community with each other, their doors were open to others, and they moved as one, with one singular focus: To tell the world who it was that saved them.
Are your doors open? Is your life yours, or does it belong to someone else?
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. (ESV)
5:1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. (ESV)