Greedy Gratitude 30 Day Devotional
Day 4 - Church Family
“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper ), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 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 of the Apostles 2:42-47 NLT
This is one of my favorite passages of God’s Word regarding friendship and fellowship. Can you imagine the scene? Jesus has just left the picture and there is a remnant of individuals that are trying to keep the early church moving forward. They come together and they start to build community by sharing LIFE with one another devoting themselves to hearing God’s word, fellowshipping, and breaking some bread together. Or, aka…getting some grub with one another. It was all about spending TIME with each other and building a family. No doubt something amazing was happening and people were noticing. Because of their extravagant thanksgiving and devotion to one another, their number was 'added to' daily. This is such a beautiful picture of a church family.
God destined the church to be a family. Not only did he give us siblings, parents, uncles and aunts…but he gave us individuals with whom to walk out this journey of life. I call it a “village.” People of all generations that come together to help one another. Encourage one another. Stick through thick and thin together. Suffer with one another. Worship with one another. Share meals with one another. Lay hands and pray for one another. Laugh until tears fall from your eyes with one another. Become vulnerable and open with one another. It’s rare to find that sort of friendship in this day and age. With all this technology that should bring us together, sometimes we live farther a part. But God didn't destin us to be lone rangers or live on private islands. His idea of community is found right in the midst of these sentences. It’s coming together and loving the people God has placed in your church “village” with such passion that you literally do life together.
It is ever perfect? Are you kidding! We are all made so uniquely with intention. So when we come together we weave this beautiful tapestry that the world can view with awe and wonder. Where there are differences, we choose to get along. Where there is great need, we help provide. Where there is defeat, we lift one another up until the win. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. We see it here in the early church of Acts and it’s possible if we are willing to lay aside our selfish ideals and extravagantly give our hearts to the people of God that are all around us.
Without walls. The early church formed a community that didn’t use a building to identify their village. It came from their hearts. I have lived most of my adult life away from the family I was born into. These sisters and brothers will always be part of my heritage and when we see one another there is always deep love. But the people that God has placed in my everyday life have also become my family. We celebrate Thanksgiving together. We support a child at a sports game. We pray together when that’s all we can do. Like that early church in Acts, we live life together in unity despite our differences, despite our upbringing, despite the color of our skin, despite how much money we have banked. Our extravagant thankfulness goes deep for one another that forms an unstoppable village where love and hope can reign.
Who lives in your village? Who has God given you without walls to break bread with, go to a movie with, share your darkest struggles with, live life with? The early church didn’t wait for someone to come to them; they went out and made it happen with whoever God placed around them. And with EXTRAVAGANT THANKFULNESS they built a community that still stands today.
I love the local church. I love these people God has placed into my life. I love being a part of this village. I love each one of you…
ACTION STEP: Take a moment to think about this village called church where God has placed you. Write out the top 3 things about 29:11 or the church you are attending that you admire and appreciate. Text or email those 3 things to your pastor or someone in leadership to let them know of your admiration. Then, take a moment to CALL someone today via voice and, even if it’s just a voicemail, let them KNOW how much you appreciate having them in your life.