They were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. Acts 2: 46B-47A
In Luke’s account of life in the early church, he gives us a few sentences of how the early Christians—after suddenly growing from a group of 120 people to more than 3,000—found a way to thrive and expand even more.
According to Luke, they listened to powerful teaching from the apostles, they hung out together, they prayed together and . . . they did a lot of eating together (v. 42).
In addition, as wonders and signs took place through the apostles, these brand-new Christians trusted each other enough to share whatever they had to support the cause.
But toward the end of what we know as the second chapter of Acts, Luke points out something we—as those involved in pregnancy help ministry—can easily latch onto every day. The early Christians, he says, took “their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God (italics mine).”
Aha! The first followers weren’t just eating together (which is always a good idea for volunteer and paid staff gatherings) because they needed food. They did so with sincerity and gladness . . . which seems like joy to me. These folks loved each other. Cared for each other. Over food, they delved into each other’s lives.
Here’s the thing: While those outside of the faith didn’t likely see any of this fellowship time, something happened as a result. Let’s let Luke tell it:
“. . . and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
You see what happened? Because of what was taking place around the tables, those outside the faith saw a palatable difference in the new Christians. This difference was so powerful, “all the people” were impressed. And the result? The Lord added to their number.
Of course, Jesus predicted this. In John 13:35 he told his disciples at the Last Supper, “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Not surprisingly, he was right.
It’s a lesson for us. We do a lot of training in how to share Christ’s love with those we see, which is certainly good. But the most important way to reach others is behind the scenes, when they can’t see us. By developing a love for each other—maybe even over food—we create a culture which others can see so clearly, they want to be part of it.
Our thought for today? If we want our clients to embrace faith, our most effective starting point is each other. When we spend time together, we create a culture of sincerity, gladness and praise—one which is so obvious, others want to join in.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement SpecialistHeartbeat International
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