Jesus is a uniting force. A powerful uniting force.
The believers at this time were going through a lot of tough things that could have quickly ripped them apart.
Who would lead them now that Jesus was gone? There easily could have been a battle for leadership of the apostles. Remember James and John asking to sit on Jesus’ right and left in his heavenly kingdom?
What about the heavy persecution and stress on the apostles from the Jewish religious leaders? They were constantly threatening to have them arrested and barred from speaking about Jesus. The martyrdom of Stephen is not far in the future.
The rapid growth in the number of believers is creating stress and strain on the infrastructure, and on the apostles themselves. An argument is brewing between the Greek and Hebrew speaking widows about the level of care they’re being afforded.
Ananias and Sapphira are about to undergo God’s judgment for lying about their gift to the Lord. I wonder how the members of the church felt about God’s response to their dishonesty. Did some leave in fear?
Today also, there are many reasons for sinful members of an imperfect church to splinter into a hundred different factions. CrossWalk is no exception. We too have our challenges.
Should we purchase land and build a building?
How will we personally be part of God’s solution to our operating budget shortfall?
What about that person on my ministry team that wasn’t so kind or “Christian” to me recently?
How come my growth group can’t seem to stick together in tough times and help out where needed?
But our God is a more powerful unifying force than any of these issues are a dividing force. When we’re studying and meditating on God’s word together, then we can trust that the Holy Spirit will keep us bonded. When we’re enjoying the blessings of the sacraments together, the peace of Jesus will guide us through the divisive issues. Our Father has the love and the power that’s necessary when sinners like us try to pull together in one direction.
And our God is not just a unifying force! He is also a “sharing force.” He loves to help us share — our time, our talents, our treasures — so that all can enjoy his care, and be one in heart and mind.
“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” (Acts 4:32, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Monday, June 8, is 2 Samuel 13:1-39, Acts 4:23 – 5:11 and Psalm 71:9-18.
Father, you sent your Son Jesus to make all believers one in heart and mind. I thank and praise you for community, for my Christian family, for my CrossWalk family. It is an amazing blessing to have so many brothers and sisters in Christ. Help me to work wholeheartedly and sacrificially to preserve community, to honor what your Son Jesus did to establish it in the first place!