April 13 I Friday
1 Samuel 22-24
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” —Acts 4:32
There is a little rhyme that reads, “If you could find the perfect church without one fault or smear, for goodness sake don’t join that church; you’d spoil the atmosphere.” There is no such thing as a perfect church because we are imperfect people, but it is essential for believers to gather together for fellowship, encouragement and edification. Being part of a Christian community gives opportunities to worship together, to carry each other’s burdens, to share our spiritual gifts and to learn from other people’s experiences of Christ.
One important way the early church celebrated together was through “the breaking of bread”
(Acts 2:42). Eating meals together is certainly a favoured form of Christian fellowship, but this passage is referring specifically to the Lord’s Supper. We do not practice Communion as a ritual but so that as a group we can “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes”
(1 Corinthians 11:26). Communion unites us individually to Christ, commemorating the ultimate sacrifice He made for us, but it also unites us as a community.
The early church was characterized as a giving community. Luke tells us: “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need” (Acts 2:45). After the Spirit came to indwell 3,000 new believers on the day of Pentecost, many of them chose to stay in Jerusalem. There were suddenly hundreds of people who unexpectedly needed places to stay and had few possessions with them. Scripture tells us the believers who had more shared with those who had less so that everything was had in common. Cultural biases were broken down as members of the early church gave generously and supported one another in expanding the kingdom.
The church remains the focal point for modern Christian community, but this can and should extend far beyond our Sunday morning gatherings. An example of community ministry taking place in the Peoples Church, Toronto, developed from their three basketball teams. The players practice every week and have gone on to win tournaments all over North America. We celebrate their victories, but rejoice even more over the students who have come to know Christ and grown closer to Him because of conversations taking place during drives to tournaments and weekends away.
With every life changed by Christ, His kingdom expands. One player tells another and it escalates, reaching beyond the basketball courts into homes, schools and circles of friends. Christian communities come in many forms: crafts like making quilts for the needy, holding bazaars, summer camps, Bible study, choirs, prayer warriors and so much more. The value of joining a Christ-centered group can be instrumental in steering people of all ages into a deeper, closer walk with God.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that the Christian life is not lived in isolation but in community. Draw me closer to others who love You so that I may benefit from their experiences in my own walk with You. Thank You, Lord.