Acts 4:32-35 “All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.”

Wow. How do you feel about these verses? Convicted? Challenged? Dismissive? I have to admit that I read the first part thinking, “if only…” If only all the believers were united in heart and mind, today.

If only all the believers set aside politics, differing opinions, preferences, WHATEVER was the barrier separating them, today, and chose to follow Christ’s example and the example of the early church by being united in heart and mind. I don’t think that this meant they agreed on everything. I think it meant that they agreed on the important things.

Caring for each other…both in word and deed.

Ministering to the least, the last and the lost…both in word and deed.

SEEING the need around them instead of being oblivious to needs because it didn’t directly affect them…and then doing something about it!

Choosing love and not hate…even if it meant that you would come under criticism.

Looking beyond the outward appearance of a person to see the heart and soul…just as Jesus looked beyond.

This is what I first read when I read these verses. If only…And then it continues. What they owned was not their own. Ahhh…that’s why it later becomes so easy for them to give it away to others…it simply is not theirs but rather, it belongs to God, the creator of all things. Colossians 1:16-17 says, “for through him (Christ) God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth…and he holds all creation together!” If we recognize that God is the maker of everything it might be a bit easier to let go of the things that we hold so tightly.

I think that the early Christians recognized the blessing of sharing the gifts that God had given them…yes, many of them gained these gifts through hard work…but they still recognized them as created gifts from God. They also recognized that each person was a creation of God and deserved to be honored.

We don’t do a lot of honoring of each other these days. We do a lot of criticizing, bullying and demeaning of each other. We take many opportunities to show each other up or play king-of-the-hill to make sure that people see who really deserves to be “on top.” That was never God’s plan when Jesus was sent to serve and save us. It wasn’t meant to be so that only a select few of the “perfect” ones or the “elite” ones received all of the benefits. Let’s remember that all have fallen short…all means you and me!

So, as an imperfect person, I need to remember that I am as undeserving of God’s love and redemption as the next person…no matter who they are and whether I approve of them or not. It’s not up to me…thanks be to God! What I DO need to remember is that I have a lot of examples of how to love…how to serve…how to give…how to be the type of Christian that is exemplified by honorable men and women in the early church. Most are unnamed, but their actions are clear and unwavering.

Therefore, so should mine.