One of the joys of my job, I may have mentioned before, is that I get to spend time by myself periodically where I can listen to the radio or CD if I want to. My dad recently gave me a book on CD to listen to from Max Lucado called "Out Live Your Life." I am sure at some point I will touch on various thoughts I had as I began listening to it, but I found one point today quite interesting and thought it played into this whole community concept I had been writing about.
32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. Acts 4:32-35 NASB
As I read this passage I get somewhat discouraged at how our churches don't seem to have any mind set like this. I know it doesn't fit our "culture" very well, but what if that is because that is what satan wants? What if we have become so detached from each other that we don't realize that we are living out part of satan's schemes.
As I write that, I think about texting, facebook, email, etc. and how in becoming so "productive" we have lost since of what our purpose in life really is? We have become a people of isolation that works hard at finding ways not to interact with each other physically.
I wonder though if it doesn't go further than that. When you read the passage right before this it speaks of how God united everyone. He made it so that everyone heard the message in their own language. He made it so that the people could come together and that is when the congregation became one heart and soul.
I don't know about you, but I don't see a lot of "churches" that are really like that. There always seems to be division in some way or another. I wonder if that division could be resolved if we actually spent more time than just Sunday mornings together. So many people only want a "Sunday Religion" and forget that we are called to more than that.
Anyway, back to the passage. Reading through the passage several time I see that at the end is makes it sound like anyone who had need was taken care of by the abundance God had given the others. Those with the abundance chose not to hang on to it and freely gave it so that it could be used. That sounds like a group I want to be apart of. Not because I could do less and be given out of someone else abundance, but rather I would be so in-tune with my neighbors and God that I knew when my neighbors needed help and they knew when I needed help.
For me I get here and it makes me think about sin and how pride can be a sin. Think about it in our culture today. So many people who are in need either feel entitled to a hand out or refuse to let anyone know they are in need. They get stuck in how they think others should view them.
On the other hand though, we have those who suffer from the same pride issues only they have the means to help those who need it. Instead they spend it on fancy cars, elaborate homes, fancy clothes, etc. Then again, maybe they don't have lots of things, but rather more than they need and they forget that God gave it to them and in reality it is still His. Instead, they too get caught up in thinking about how they want others to view them.
Both peoples forget that we are called to live in community and have isolated themselves. I have seen both sets of people in many churches and I am sure at one point or another I probably have found myself venturing towards both of these camps. I work hard not find myself in them, but I know it is one of satan's biggest traps for us.
I don't know....today I just somewhat feel like I am rambling and that I have said a lot of this before. It just seems to be a big issue for me that God keeps holding in my face right now saying, "Pay attention....are you getting this? Do you understand what I am saying?"
Feedback is always appreciated