“And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:44-47.
Following Jesus means orienting our lives toward others, just as Jesus did. This consideration for others is at the heart of being a disciple. We set our sights on serving others for Christ’s sake, just as Christ came into the world not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
Consider for a second how Christianity began and grew: Christianity did not start with a massive publicity and marketing campaign produced by world-class marketing and publicity firms. There was no 24/7 media coverage by pundits calling their attention to Jesus’ travels and reporting on every miracle and encounter with people. It began with personal engagements among a small group of men over three years.
Yes, crowds often came to Jesus, and word of His miracles sometimes spread like wildfire. But within those large crowds was a smaller group of disciples whom Jesus called to Himself. He invested particularly in them. Mark’s Gospel tells us that Jesus “…called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach” (Mark 3:13–14).
Nothing makes you more like Jesus than the daily grind of interactions with others. God gives us community as a way to become more like Him. It’s within the context of community that we are given the opportunity to be refined as followers of Christ. There is something real about the concept of community. When surrounded by other believers, we feel empowered in our faith and may even be more sensitive to God’s presence in our lives. There’s something powerful about believers joining together, making each other accountable, and being active in contributing to one another’s lives. We need people asking the hard questions and challenging us in areas we need to be challenged.
A powerful passage on the body of Christ is I Corinthians 12. In that passage, two erroneous beliefs are addressed. First, “I am not needed.” Second, “I do not need you.” Paul argues that even if you are a part of the body that is not as prominent as you would like to be, and even if you think you are unnecessary, you are wrong. All body parts are needed, functioning in a healthy way, for the body to do well. The community needs you, and you need the community.
The early church is an example of the power of the Christian community. But that power exists today. During Hurricane Michael and many times since, we have seen the power of the Christian community to serve and help people when the storms of life strike.
- How does our pursuit of community show us our need for the Spirit? What do you currently need from Him in order to grow in your devotion to Christ’s people?