Key Texts: Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

What strikes you most about this passage of scripture?

Is it that

  • The followers of Jesus were devoted to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship?
  • They were equally devoted to the breaking of bread and prayer, a reference to the “love feast” that would become the formalized service of the Lord’s Supper we know today?
  • They sold their property and possessions and gave freely to the poor?
  • They continually met with and supported one another in the temple courts?
  • They had glad and sincere hearts and the praise of God was at the center of their lives?

All of these things give us a glimpse into the powerful way Jesus followers carried his message to the world in the early days following his death and resurrection.

Still, the part of the passage that always grabs my attention in not what they were doing but what the Lord was doing at the time:

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Many churches these days worry over declining attendance numbers, decreased offering totals, a lack of enthusiasm or commitment to the faith.  Even those who seem to enjoy robust activity sometimes stress over what they are doing and how they might do it better to have more “relevant” programs or ministries.

The early church, however, was simply faithful.

They responded to the call to follow Christ, and share the good news of his loving salvation.

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

They were simply faithful, and they left the rest to God.

Can it be that simple?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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