All Things Common
What makes us human? As humans, are we more similar or more different? As Christians, what makes us stand out from non-believers in the world?
Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” – Acts 4:32 (NKJV)
Imagine with me for a moment that you’ve heard some rumours of a new movement: this movement was apparently founded by a dead guy, and now his disciples claim that he actually rose from the dead. As people join the movement, they are being ridiculed, disinherited, and mocked by their family and friends. They are even losing business because those who do not share their faith and conviction do not want to be associated with them (due to their fear of what others might think). As an outsider looking in, you might be thinking, “who on earth would want to be associated with such a movement?”
But as a Kingdom entrepreneur, you may relate to the plight of this movement. If you are a believer, you’ve likely experienced the effects of stereotyping, judgment or persecution firsthand. Sure, your current trials and culture may be different than the disciples’ experience long ago. But even today, you still may be feeling isolated from your family, friends, or the natural community that you belong to because of the choice that you’ve made to follow Christ and intentionally build a kingdom company.
How do we survive when the community we naturally belong to rejects us due to our conviction to follow Christ and to pursue His purpose and plan for our lives boldly and unashamedly? We are intentional about joining healthy communities.
The disciples were able to survive the persecution and the trials and tests that came as a result of them following their conviction because they formed a new community where they had all things common.
Brian Tracy, the author of the recent hit, No Excuses, reminds us that, “What you dwell on grows.” It goes without saying then that if you want to grow in Christ and see Him expand your impact for the Kingdom of God, you’ll need to dwell on Christ! One of the best ways to do this is (in addition to your own prayer and devotional time with God’s Word) is to spend time with a community of believers that will gracefully draw you nearer to Him every day.
“Community” is defined as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common or a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of having common attitudes, interests, and goals. From a Kingdom perspective, however, community must go beyond sharing similar interests, attitudes, and living spaces.
“Kingdom community” is a fellowship with mutual convictions, values, aspirations, and sacrifices. A community must not only share in the fellowship of love, but they must also share in the fellowship of sacrifice. They must have all things, not just some things, in common. Not just the good, but the bad too. Not just the fun things, but the hard things as well. The disciples were a true Kingdom community demonstrated by the fact that they had all things common through their obedience to the Holy Spirit.
“All things common” means recognizing that what we have is not ours, but God’s, and it must be directed by His spirit for the common good.
What is the key to having all things common?
- Believe the same thing.
- Be of one heart and one soul.
- Reject individual ownership and recognize God’s lordship over our lives and property.
- Be willing to share and sacrifice for the common good.
When people often look at what the disciples did in the book of Acts, they immediately assume that they created a socialist economy of collective ownership. This, however, is not true. Rather, they released their claim of their property from their personal directive to God’s directive. They used it not just for their personal advancement, but for the collective advancement. The properties were never committed to collective legal ownership (unless it was a gift made to the collective to be used for those in need). They also sold their property at a profit and gave out of their profits. It’s also important to note that giving to the collective need was a choice and not an obligation (Acts 4:37, Acts 5:4).
As we make personal choices to identify with the community of Christ and to represent Him boldly in the marketplace, we must also commit to forming an intentional Kingdom community where all things are common.
My prayer for you today is that God will give you the grace to stand apart from your natural community when necessary and to embrace the community of believers who share a common fellowship of love and sacrifice, dwelling on Christ our Lord.
Reflection: What are the common believes you have formed through Christ?
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