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We all seem to be impressed when we are in the company of well-behaved children. A child’s behavior is often a reflection of the values and discipline that a parent has instilled in the privacy of their own home. We may not be at the home when the parent is teaching their child what is right and what is wrong or what is polite and impolite or what is rude and what is respectful; however, how their child behaves in public gives us a clue.
Now, of course, young people will test the boundaries of the parameters of behavior outside of their parent’s presence and they will, at times, act out in ways that do not at all reflect the lessons their parents have taught them at home. We are all guilty of that. But, at the end of the day, good home-training is what we expect all parents to provide to their own children. We all expect that good home-training will occur in the privacy of homes where there exists parent-child relationships. We may not all agree on the way that home training takes place, but we all expect to see the evidence that something has happened at home that causes this child to be on their best behavior in our presence.
Today, I want to suggest to you that this is the way that we should think about our life as followers of Christ. Those of us who claim to be witnesses on behalf of the Most High should act out in ways that reflect the lessons we have been taught at “home.” The world should have the expectation that we have had good home-training through Bible Study, Worship Services, and other gatherings where we learn, discuss, and share what it means to be on our best behavior outside of the four walls of our home…church. Friends, I am clear that not all Christians agree on the way that home training should take place and YES, Christians will, at times, act out in ways that do not reflect the lessons they have been taught about what it means to be faithful or to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Yet, we all expect to see the evidence that something has happened that causes followers of Christ to be well-behaved at all times – especially knowing that none of us can escape the all-seeing eye of the Almighty God.
In our passage today, from the book of Acts, we are given nearly picture perfect evidence of good home-training.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
WOW! BlogFam, I am impressed with the behavior of this faith community. Their behavior gives us a clue as to what they have been taught about what it means to be faithful as they care one for another to the point of sharing everything they had and even selling their own possessions so that there were no needy among them. Now, I know you may not agree with the way that the early church lived out their faith in their community; however, you must at least respect their intentional efforts to provide the type of home-training that is a witness to those within and without the community that God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.
My sistas and brothas, in what ways has your home training challenged you to live out this idea of radical hospitality and extreme generosity in community? Does your home…church call for you to behave in ways that are loving and faithful to the point where you willingly give up what you own so that it can be distributed to anyone who has a need? How will you testify of the goodness of God to you through the giving of your time, talent, and treasure?
Unfortunately, this philosophy of unity, of being on one accord in heart and mind, is so far-fetched when we think of many of our churches. The lessons of radical hospitality and extreme generosity that necessitate that there are NO needy among our local communities are tailored to fit what is most comfortable or what is most popular at the time. This means, that our selfish tendencies to look out for number one override the demand of the Gospel to feed the poor, give shelter to the homeless, and to care for orphans and widows, in addition to our prophetic responsibilities – “to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” [Luke 4]
BlogFam, perhaps we need to revise the objectives of the lessons we are being taught at home…church. Perhaps, it is true that because we have neglected to prioritize the demands of the Gospel, our behavior does not provide the evidence to show that we are Christians by the hospitality and generosity we show others. Perhaps, our lack of boldness to testify of the resurrection of Jesus Christ has hindered the ways in which the grace of God can empower us to distribute our resources to all who have need. Perhaps, this nearly picture perfect of community in Acts 4 would not seem so extreme if we were actually striving to follow their example in the 21st century.
Today, I pray that we would ask God to forgive us for refusing to share what He has so graciously given to us - radical hospitality and extreme generosity. I pray that we would seek to be on one accord in heart and mind in our various ministries – individually and collectively. I pray that as we are on our best behavior, we would experience God’s grace in transformative and miraculous ways. I pray that we would intentionally act out the lessons we have learned in faithful ways that draw others to the Light of Christ shining through us. And I pray that the example of Acts 4 would no longer be strange or foreign or extreme to us but that their practices would become our way of life.
Black History Month – Quote of the Day:
The United States has been called the melting pot of the world. But it seems to me that the colored man either missed getting into the pot or he got melted down.
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I WRITE by Faith, and NOT by Sight...