READ: Acts 4:32-37; 6:1-7
- William Willimon offers incredible insight into the Christian community when he paints a picture of people who are at best consumers. They want their “needs” met—the right seats, the right temperature, the right volume, and the right content in the messages. What they don’t want to know is what their “real needs” are. In the early church in Acts, there was no time to worry about consumer needs. The grace they’d experienced was so new, they were still incredibly grateful.
- The early believers’ “real needs” were “real needs.” They needed food, clothing and housing. They needed comfort and encouragement. They needed to know they belonged. They needed instruction in the way of the Lord. T hey received what they needed because they lived in community. Others lived life alongside them and knew their needs. They were cared for because they were known.
- One reason many communities don’t know the church or don’t like the church is because they don’t see the church being the church. Instead they see a social club caring about things that don’t matter. What impresses the broken outside the Christian community is what they see happening within the Christian community. Not as if it’s a private club, but as if it’s a body of caring people seeking to help those in need, without grumbling and expectations.
- Why is it so easy to fall into a consumer mentality instead of remaining aware of the grace that has been so generously extended to us?
- How can we genuinely care for one another and not come off as an elitist social club?
- What needs do you know of that you could meet as a member of a community that might give Jesus and His people a good name?
PRAY: Thank God for all opportunities to be generous. Pray that we are not isolated from the larger community in which we live. Pray that we are attractive because we are generous.