So, it's killing me. Those words I shared last week wash over me again and again and I find myself wrestling with what they might mean. This matter of stuff is big in our lives and I am convinced I am doing it wrong. All wrong.
When I last posted about this, I asked if you might be willing to read that little bit from the book of Acts. Did you miss that post? Go ahead and click here and you can take a peek. The passage that I just keep turning over is this:
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Can we just imagine that a second? Can we just imagine what it would be like if we gathered together and ate our meals in peace and paid attention to what we have been taught and then... AND THEN... released our things to meet the needs of others? (Yes, the book 7 has gotten under my skin... )
What would it be like if someone said, "My car is broken and I have no way to fix it."
And then someone else said, "Hey, that's no big deal for me. I fix stuff all the time! Let me take a look."
What would it be like if we ALL admitted to our own simple needs and also allowed our possessions to be used to meet the needs of others? I am not suggesting that we give up working and striving to take care of the very things we know we must. Instead, I am dreaming of a day when can respond to one another in a flow of compassion; a day when we can look at our own gifts, talents, areas of excess and see that these might be used to build The Kingdom around us.
Here is what I know: The economy has leveled families everywhere. I know this because we have been leveled. It is not a concept to me. Its not something that happens to people who do not plan. It is something that has happened to so many people that it is hard to really comprehend the number of families and individuals who are struggling in really big ways. And, something about being in struggle, causes us to pull away... hide that need... cower in shame... and it makes it all so very hard.
But... what if it didn't have to be this way? What if this awful economy actually provided us a level playing field where we could come together and share our things because really, it's hard for us all? What if that is what the church is supposed to do? What if that's what its supposed to look like? What if we judged the origin of need far less often and instead, threw open our doors and set the table and shared whatever we had?
Yeah. I am a bit of an idealist.
But, here's the thing... I can live with that. I can live with being an idealist and truly believing that what I have here (which I am likely not using) might be needed by someone else. And I can totally live with the idea that maybe God dreams of a day when His church functions a bit more like Acts 2 and a little less like Hoarders. Maybe that's a bit snarky but I need to be really clear... I am not finger-pointing here. I am a part of the problem. No doubt.
So I am lost in the midst of this conviction and dreaming of day when we will all know that needing and filling a need is not something hard or shameful... but actually the way that the early church looked when "all the believers were together and had everything in common."
We all need, friends. We do. I do. And, we get distracted by it sometimes. I know I have lost myself in a place where I felt like needing made it impossible to give. But, I learned last week that this is not true. That of my excess, needs can be filled. I learned that God can show me where to go to help someone who has almost nothing... that He can help me find others that can meet needs I cannot. And that feels really good. Like balance, I guess. Finally.
Maybe it's good to think about that early church, to wonder what it would have been like. And it is interesting to me to think about what that has to do with the church today. Not the building. The BODY. What would it take for us to function the way the early church did? When I close my eyes and imagine it all, people sharing a meal and their thoughts and their things and their abilities, the whole of it makes me smile. I want my kids to know this picture... and I want them to have a part. I want to gather them around and shake off the entitled nature that sometimes shows up and open their eyes to the part they can play when they realize that can reach others, too.
Maybe it's all just a really nice dream...
But maybe... it's not.
Blessings on your day.