God’s Plan A
And all who believed where together and had all things in common. Acts 2:44
Let’s talk about real community for a minute.
I just left a zoom call with our staff. We’ve been meeting four times a week to do our normal ministry stuff—strategic planning, debriefing, praying for the congregation, etc. But once a week, we check in with each other personally.
How are you doing? How can we pray for you?
Those were our questions today. Here was the beautiful thing about this morning. Some of us have had a really tough week—either at home, in our area of ministry, or in both. Others were just ok.
But we had a few who were truly experiencing joy—and they brought the rest of us up. Gary had a beautiful story that illustrated God’s grace. Brad and Delora had funny stories about goose poop. Pam prayed Psalm 63 over our staff.
When you really think about it, that’s the way the church at its best has operated since the beginning. Acts 2 describes this picture of the three thousand or so in Jerusalem who “had all things in common.” Those who had more than what they needed sold their stuff to provide for those in need.
I don’t think this is gives us a Biblical blueprint for a socialist economy, as much as it reveals God’s desire to care for His children through the church. We were not created to be alone. We were created to be in community with one another.
The early church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to each other. Jesus didn’t set up his church to be a place to come and get a little pep talk for the week. His vision for the church was so much more!
God doesn’t generally zap us to recharge and encourage us. He uses people. That’s his “Plan A,” as Henry Cloud says. Some days I have a lot to give—money, time, words of encouragement, prayer—so it’s my job that day to give to those in need. Some days I am empty. It’s my job, that day, to receive.
Part of the deal, in some ways the most important part of the deal, of following Jesus is to have the humility to give and receive. Pride is a multi-headed monster that gets in the way of both. Here’s what pride looks like—at least for me.
I’ve worked hard to get what I have. You haven’t. Look at what a great guy I am to give to you.
I’ve messed up. I’m ashamed that I need your help. Look at what a terrible or soft guy I am to receive from you.
Now, here’s the gospel foundation for the church Jesus is building.
God is the perfect Father. He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you on the Cross. When you receive that gift through faith, you also receive the Holy Spirit to remind you that you’re part of the family. This is what grace is about. You didn’t do anything to earn your way into the family. His family is called the church. Families take care of each other. Sometimes it’s my turn to give and your turn to receive. Sometimes it’s your turn to give and my turn to receive.
Now let me meddle for a minute.
The harder it is for me to give and the harder it is for me to receive, the less I understand and really believe to be true about God’s love and generosity. If I never give of myself, I don’t get what God gave for me. If I never receive from someone else, I don’t get that what I need from God.
Either way, I’m stuck in my own plan.
Is it harder for you to give or to receive? Why?
Father, help me to see that all that I have comes from You and all that I need is in You.
Read Acts 2:42-47