42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
My younger days were wrapped up in being a Navy family. I’m a Navy brat, and I was for my first 15 years. I had no real idea what life was like for those in my schools who didn’t have parents in the military. Within the community of the Navy, and likely the rest of the military branches, there was a distinct ‘take care of each other’ attitude. If we knew someone in our community needed help, they usually had more hands than they needed. When tragedy struck, those in the middle of it were in the middle of a crowd of others there to help them. This sort of community relationship, prevalent wherever we moved, is what I think of when I read this passage. A community of people happy to share their lives with others.
This body of believers were practicing what Jesus had taught the disciples and those following him: love your neighbor. Just like the Navy community I grew up with, when they saw a need in their community, they tried to fill it by dipping into their personal lives and possessions, sharing with others as the needs came about. And there wasn’t an expectation of being repaid. This sharing was done out of a heart of love and understanding.
This group of believers is our heritage in our relationship with Christ. They went on before us, and their loving and sharing with each other reflects the true meaning of the Greek word used for fellowship, which is koinonia. The life they shared with each other was made manifest in Christ, giving them (and us) the experience of true fellowship, lives lived at a deeper level.
It seems the pace of life has changed the way we fellowship with each other. Perhaps we go to church, visit with the people we know there, but as soon as the last “Amen” is spoken, we’re out the door to the next “thing.” Perhaps it’s time to take hold of our own lives, and share with those around us. At some time or another, we seem to say “I wish I knew them better” about someone at church, a neighbor, or perhaps a friend from work. Maybe it’s time for us to send those folks an invite and pursue that relationship rather than just talk about it. When those names come to your mind, walk up to them and invite them to a cup of coffee, or, better yet, bring them into your home and share a meal. Become one who shares life rather than miss it altogether.
By Rich Obrecht