A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line - Unity and Focus

6Aug

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900). You can find other devotions, sermons, essays, articles, and announcements on The Cove Community blog. 

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 Acts 4:32-35

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Unity and Focus

I think two things have happened in the American church, both of which are not only sad but compromise our ability to communicate our faith. You see, we seem to have gotten confused about our unity and our focus. For example, rather than coming together in any meaningful way, the Body of Christ continues to be splintered by things as insignificant as musical style and political agenda. And rather than looking for places that might challenge growth, believers seek out places that are comfortable, allowing them to avoid the painful process of becoming more than they are right now. Our unity is being strained by our desire to hear only what we already believe, in other words, what we want to hear. And our focus, sadly it’s often pointed inside and not out toward the world. What’s best for me seems far more important than what’s best for either us or them. Feeling good is often more important than feeding the hungry.

But this kind of unity and focus wasn’t reflected in the earliest church, among the earliest Christians. I mean, their unity was so strong that they brought to the apostles their personal possessions, trusting that they would be put to good use. And they held everything in common, even though I doubt that they were in total agreement about all things. You see, for them, unity held a priority higher than taste or opinion. And as to focus, this was done so that two things might happen. First, this enabled the apostles to give their testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And second, a community could be established in which no one would hunger and thirst. That was their focus. Now this is what happened in the early church, and we can only pray that the day will come when we’ll claim this kind of unity and focus for ourselves.
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