Lent Devotional: Acts 2:42-47
by Jonathan Haefs
Today’s devotional is authored by Brad Brown
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
What is the church?
Is church a building we go to on Sunday mornings? Is church a service we attend to sing praises and hear preaching?
If there’s one thing quarantine in the midst of a global pandemic is doing for me, it’s reminding me that the church is a people. Jesus’ people. This is why we can say in a time like this that the church isn’t “closed.” The church’s building may be closed. The church’s service may be live-streamed. But the church, the body of Christ, is very much open.
I’ve loved this passage in Acts 2 for many years. It warms my heart and brings me joy to think of how the first church operated—they devoted themselves to studying the apostles’ teaching (which is now written down for us in the New Testament), praying, eating together and taking communion. We’ve continued these practices as the church. I always feel convicted, though, when Luke tells us: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing proceeds to all, as any had need.”
By “all things in common” he doesn’t mean that all members of the church liked the same sports teams or had the same favorite foods. The church was made up of all walks of life, both sexes, and all social statuses. He means that the church members shared what they had with one another. No one held too tightly to their money or possessions. Luke goes on to say that people sold their possessions to have money to give the poor in their body.
I believe this generosity has fallen out of practice in many of our churches, unfortunately. The American mentality of “what’s mine is mine” often reigns in our greedy hearts. I know it does in mine. But if there was a time to repent of this, it is now.
How can we be the church in a global pandemic? Yes, we continue to fellowship with one another—albeit virtually—and continue to study Scripture and pray. But perhaps now is the time to take a page from the early church’s book and make sure that none in our body go hungry. Now is the time to consider the needs we can meet. This can be buying someone’s dinner or giving a lonely friend a phone call.
Jesus came not just to heal people spiritually, but physically as well. He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. He showed compassion to the poor and the outcast. Let us serve the Lord Christ by loving his body well. You can contact the church office, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to be an errand-runner for those in our body who need to stay home. This is a tangible way we can serve Christ’s church! And it is my prayer that even in the midst of a pandemic, the Lord will add to our number daily those who are being saved.