Who Needs You Today?

Earlier in the week I wrote about how Peter, the most unlikely of leaders, became head of the early Christian church in Jerusalem following the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The church grew at an incredible rate during this period as many thousands were converted after hearing the testimonies of Peter and the other disciples and witnessing the many signs and wonders they performed which are sprinkled throughout the early chapters of the Book of Acts.

It must have been a period of great excitement. People were being healed, speaking in foreign languages and the Holy Spirit was running amok. Believers genuinely expected the return of Jesus any day and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Local religious leaders were on edge and the occupying Romans were itching to brutally subdue the first suggestion of revolt. It was a dangerous, intoxicating time and life was lived on the edge as the early believers never knew what was around the next corner. Yet for all the excitement it is the following verses that always stop me in my tracks:

‘All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.’ Acts 4:32-35 (NIV)

Wow!

I’ll just say that again for effect.

Wow!

To me this is the purest description of community imaginable. Never mind preaching in front of huge crowds, outarguing the supposed greatest theologians of their time and performing miracles at the drop of a hat; it meant nothing unless it was underpinned by love for others. Loving people so much that you were willing to sell all your belongings, even your own house, in order to provide for them. Nobody went without. Everything was shared equally. There were no distinctions made. They were all in this together. They lived and loved out of each other’s pockets.

This to me was and is church. Church is not a building you go to once a week where you exchange small talk with people you don’t really know or care to know and vice versa. Church isn’t singing a few songs and wearing your best clothes so that you look good in front of those you want to impress. Church isn’t fake smiles and ‘I’m fine’ and ‘I’m so sorry to hear that I’ll pray for you’ but then don’t because you didn’t really mean it and, hey, they aren’t going to know anyway. Church is so, so much more than that. Church is love. Selfless, humble love.

Church is praying privately for someone you don’t particularly like without them knowing you are; church is helping out a needy neighbour or a homeless person and then not bragging about it to all and sundry. Church is keeping in touch with people seven days a week instead of just putting on a performance on a Sunday morning. Church is every second of every day you have. Church is Jesus and Jesus is Church. It’s not about rules and regulations and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. It’s about the freedom of loving and expecting nothing in return.

The early Church had it spot on. Because it’s leaders experienced it first hand with Jesus for three years during his ministry on earth. They saw and they got it. I’m not so sure what Jesus would think of many of our churches today. I see more love on the streets, often being carried out by people who have never crossed the threshold of a church building. These are the people who inspire me to try harder and to do better. These are the people who truly get what Jesus taught two millennia ago.

You shouldn’t be ashamed to love others. We can all learn from the early Church. People who gave up their livelihoods, their reputations and often their lives for a cause which they knew was right. People of honour and integrity. People like Peter and Stephen and Paul. There is power in humility; there is strength in revealing your weaknesses and flaws to others. We need to work towards building these communities again. To let the lonely, the broken and the desperate know that they need never be lonely, broken and desperate again.

I would encourage you today to look around within your own community and identify someone in need. Then take the revolutionary step of doing something to address that need. It could be as simple as buying a cup of coffee or sending a text message. There is someone within your sphere of influence today who needs help, who needs your help. Be bold and take that first step, make that first move. Identify and address their need. They need you and you need to act. Be their community and make a difference today. Thank you.

What is church to you?

Who needs your help today?

42 thoughts on “Who Needs You Today?

Add yours

  1. In Sunday school we taught the preschoolers a little rhyme clasping our fingers together into the palms and saying, “Here’s the church” then we would lift our pointer fingers together and say, “Here’s the steeple.” Next we turned our clasped fingers kind of inside out, and say, “Open the doors and see all the people.” The people are the church hopefully carrying the message outside the building.

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  2. I so agree with you! Church is so much more than a building, and so much more than people meeting once a week who hardly know each other. Thank you for this!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Grace Abounds and commented:
    This is so true! “Church isn’t fake smiles and ‘I’m fine’ and ‘I’m so sorry to hear that I’ll pray for you’ but then don’t because you didn’t really mean it and, hey, they aren’t going to know anyway. Church is so, so much more than that. Church is love. Selfless, humble love.”

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              1. Only when I travel, I enjoy visiting pilgrimage sites and on the odd occasion I join my sister at her Catholic parish, but generally as corny as it sounds, I’m my own church. I believe in being the living bible, as this post advocates

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  4. This gives us a lot to think about. What does ‘loving your neighbor’ look like in today’s small world? Needs are all around us. All over the world, I see people in need. Which one do I help? I think we start by showing the love of Christ to those in our own “mission field”, (the place where God has placed us). For me, that is a public school.

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  5. Very good point made! The sense of community and mutual concern for the wellfare of one another is part of what makes our faith strong.

    I am a firm believer in the saying: “None of you truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself”.

    We are all like members of one body; if one part is suffering, the entire body suffers.

    Thanks for the reminder – there is always someone who we can reach out to 🙂

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  6. I’ve always loved these verses on the early church. Together with the ones that stressed they came together in unity of purpose and then God did amazing things, it gives us an awesome example and challenge for our own churches.

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      1. It is a shame. But it doesn’t leave me without hope. I know even the early church struggled with it at times. Our churches are filled with imperfect people, just like us. And in recent years, I believe we’ve become too comfortable as believers. Church, for many, has become what you do out of duty instead of something you want to do to connect with other believers and God.

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  7. Amen. Church is not a building and the builds have lost their way. So we must pray. Fervently pray which will bring a shaking and breaking and remaking of His church. The church buildings are in a sad state. God will put needs in front of us and we do what we can to meet them. Simple. I’ve blessed others when I was already in need, and I kid you not the Lord put extra money my account. Over $200. I checked and checked and there’s no way – counting every penny, living paycheck to paycheck – I’d make such a huge error.

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  8. Again, a great post. It has been the same thing God has put on my heart. Everyday, I sow seeds into others, outside of church. I was able to pray for a parent’s husband who was in the hospital, and provide comfort. I prayed with my coworkers daughter who is pregnant, facing some unwelcome news. I’m stepping out to speak and be an example of humility.

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  9. I loved this post, and the image of the Holy Spirit running around loose and unsupervised made my day. I’ll use the two questions you posed at the end as my Lenten reflection today or maybe this week-they are very worthy of pondering!

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