Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47 (NRSV)
The early believers were convinced that Jesus would return in their lifetimes, so they lived accordingly.
Some have used this passage as a Christian argument for collectivism as a form of government (the somewhat contradictory phrase “Christian socialism” comes to mind,) however, the key to making this first century community work was that sharing and living in common were voluntary. The response to the Good News was one that came from grateful and loving hearts, not one of forced compliance to a set of rules. There were no mandatory levies or quotas, as the people provided for themselves and for others as there were needs. They were governed by the principle of loving God and bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth. There was no tax man going around making sure that everyone gave his or her fair share (and more,) and no one claimed more than he or she needed.
Their community was based upon living in response to the love and grace of God.
Today it seems as if we have lost sight that God is still with us. Does the way we “do life”- and how we welcome others into our community- reflect God’s love and grace and mercy toward us?
It has been said that integrity is living one’s life the same whether we are under direct scrutiny of others or not. Are we the same people in the dark that we claim to be in the light of day?
By the grace of God we are called to live our lives in such a way that others want to come join us- because we share the joy we have in Christ.
And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (reference to Isaiah 52:7) Romans 10:15 (NRSV)
Do we have “beautiful feet?” Do we bring good news? Do we show others that following Jesus makes a difference?