May 15th – Share and Care with the World (Acts 2:43-47; 4:32-37)
At Pentecost, Jesus’ followers received the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of Jesus’ promise. The Spirit, the life-giving breath of God, empowered them for ministry. They were able to tell the story of Jesus with power. Others understood and believed. The disciples baptized others and gave them the promise of the Holy Spirit. With Peter as its leader, the movement grew dramatically in response to the disciples’ teaching and their welcoming fellowship.
In Jerusalem, the believers formed a community in which their hope and practice were that all share what they had. They did not claim private property but held all things in common. To meet needs, they would sell their land and possessions to distribute the proceeds. Their focus was on God. They were together in the temple. They shared meals at home with rejoicing. Generosity characterized their fellowship. They praised God. The community’s life evoked goodwill in others, many of whom joined in this glad, new way of life.
Being followers of the risen Jesus made a difference in the disciples’ lives. They testified not only by their words, but through their actions. Their lives were different from the ways of the world around them. Their way of life proclaimed Jesus’ promise of abundant life, concern for all in need, and reassurance that we not worry or be afraid for ourselves. For us, too, the way we live together as Christians is a powerful proclamation of our faith to those around us.
**The early Christians shared in a way that will be foreign to most learners. They have no life experiences to give them a basis for understanding what it would be like to give everything you have and share what everyone else has offered, especially if the rest of the group is not your family.
Gracious God, you have given me so much. I sometimes take for granted all that I have. I protect my things as if they are truly mine. Help me to see that everything comes from you and to freely share with others. Amen.
-Discuss these two thoughts: What things are easy for you to share? What things are hard for you to share?
-Talk about what a marketplace and life would have looked in the life of these early Christians. Talk about what a family’s necessities would have been at that time. Then talk about what markets and necessities look like today. What are the differences? What are the similarities? Think about what could be shared back in Bible time and what we share today.
-One thing Jesus’ followers did together was to spend time in worship and praise. They would use psalms in their praise. We can use psalms to praise God, too. We often share a psalm during worship each Sunday. As a family, look up Psalm 148 in the Bible. Read through the psalm. Now think about sounds you can make to go along with the psalm. What do sea monsters and weather sound like? What are some other sounds you can make that go along with the reading of the psalm? Now have someone read the psalm and others make sounds to go along with it.
-Share a time that you worked together with a friend or a member of your family. Discuss what the word “harmony” means. If you have heard the word before, it may be in conjunction with music (two or more notes that are pleasing together) and with people (two or more people who work together well and get along with each other).
KNOW the story of how early Christians lived.
GROW in your trust that when you are willing to share, God provides enough for everyone.
SHOW caring by sharing something with a friend.