Everybody has a Rule of Life; but not everybody has an intentional Rule of Life. We all have things we do every day, every week, every season, and every year. However, so many of those things are automated to the point that we no longer think about what we’re doing. The Early Church was very intentional about the way that they built their communal Rule of Life. That rhythm is recounted for us in Acts 2:42-47. As you read through their Rule of Life, ask Jesus which portions of it are missing from your rhythms.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
There are a number of things listed in this passage that stand out to me, but one that I want to focus on.
The Early Church had a rhythm of meeting both in large groups for teaching – they met in the temple courts daily (v. 46) and they also met in small groups: in homes (v.46). I love that the first church saw value in learning the way of Jesus through teaching in large groups; but they also knew that Christianity was to be lived out in very personal ways. It appears that part of the rhythm of the early church was that they both worshiped together and they ate together. Eating was central to the communal lives of Jesus followers. Somehow, in the midst of everything they had going on, they made time to eat together – it was that important to them.
Does your Rule of Life reflect the value of a shared meal? Do you make that a priority? One of the things I’ve noticed is that if I don’t do that by design, I rarely do it by default.
Think back on this week of meals. What conversations and blessings came out of shared time together? Think about the week ahead. Decide on one night to have someone over for a meal or meet them at a restaurant. There is something sacred about spending time, looking each other in the eye, and sharing a meal together. You might even decide that you want to dedicate one night per week to getting together with others for a shared meal. The Early Church knew the value; may we embrace it in our day too.
By Ryan Paulson