I have always found the first church to be interesting. I love their commitment to one another and to the glory of God. Acts 2:42-47 introduces us to them by saying, “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.” Upon first reading this I thought about how wonderful it would be to have a community that cared more about others and God than themselves. With a community like this, I could understand how their love and generosity would attract many others to the faith and cause the church to grow so rapidly.
Unfortunately, this is not how it is anymore… Now the community of believers seems to be more self-focused than externally focused. We are more interested in hearing what we want to hear and then returning to our own little world. We don’t want to be challenged, we don’t want to have to make any changes and we definitely don't want to have to change the way we have been doing things. Our version of the Christian community is more about convenience for us and less about love for others. With that being said, not every church, group, or community member is like this. There are plenty of them that are doing good and loving others like the first church, I just feel we all could be doing a better job at being more like the first church.
God is the creator of all things including relationships and community. From the beginning of time, we needed one another. Adam had Eve, Abraham had Sarah, Moses had Aaron, Ruth had Naomi, David had Jonathon, James had John, even the Son of God, Jesus had the apostles. We were not created to be alone, Genesis 2:18 tells us clearly, “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ ” When God created man He intended for us to be in community with Him and with others. As you can see from the list of Bible duos above we can find community in any relationship such as your spouse, your cousin, your mother-in-law, your best friend, your sibling, and even in a group of men who shouldn’t have anything in common. God can use any two or more people to create a community and in that community, He will be present. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Over the past few years and largely due to the pandemic, the number of individuals who experience feelings of loneliness has risen to an all-time higher. This was due to the lack of community that was being experienced and the overstimulation from sources that cannot fulfill us. These feelings of loneliness are commonly accompanied by physical pain and depression. Although we try to fill this void with things such as social media, video games, TV, etc. none of these things truly fill the gap. They only temporarily fill us and leave us feeling empty. If we want to have a real change in our lives we have to be in a community with God and others.
All of this may leave you saying where do I start… I have a few ideas I think might help.
Join or start a Bible study
Volunteer at your church or in your community
Make it a point to meet up with old friends
Fight the feeling of loneliness when they come up
Join a community group
Make new friends
Do something for someone else