“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals including the Lord’s Supper and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all and the apostles performed many miracles signs and wonders. And all the believers met together and shared everything they had. Each day the Lord added to their fellowship.”
This was what made the early Christians stand out in society. “See how these Christians love one another”. This sincerity, this humility and simplicity spoke to a society that only cared about success and individuality, but hungered for something real. Society isn’t too different today. And for faith to flourish it has to stand in contrast to what society puts forward. And for that to happen, society has to be able to say “Look how those Christians love each other”.
Our challenge in these uncertain but exciting times is to support and encourage each other in our friendship with Jesus. To witness to our faith in a very real way by the way we relate with each other, by practising humility. To do that takes a change in heart, a change in the way we view life, in the way we view society, in what we value.
There is an old Indian Legend. It was dusk and the air was still, as the wandering holy man settled under a tree. There he would spend the night, with a stone for his pillow. He had few belongings and had long ago given up the idea of becoming successful, or of making a lot of money or even of being popular. He had whatever he needed, and he needed very little. His evening meditation was disturbed by the shouts of a business man who came running up to him .“I had a dream last night”, he told the holy man.” In the dream I was told to come to you and that you would give me a priceless stone that I have been looking for all my life. I can’t believe that I have found you”. The holy man rummaged through his small bag which kept his possessions and said, “perhaps this jewel which I found earlier today is the stone from your dream. It’s very beautiful, please take it”.
The business man’s mouth dropped open and his eyes grew large with delight. As he carried the huge diamond home he was bursting with pride. He would never see a poor day again. But the feeling did not last long and by the end of the day was deeply troubled trying to plan what he would do with his riches. How changed forever his life would be! But that night he couldn’t sleep, there was something about the holy man that disturbed him to the core. Before dawn broke he got up and made his way back to the holy man. The holy man was already up and the business man laid the precious jewel at his feet and said, “I have a more important favour to ask you now. Please, can I have the most important gift of all? Give me the secret that made you give this precious stone away”.