The early days of the first Christian community were not easy by any measurement. Jesus had been executed, and his disciples had to be discreet so as not to meet a similar fate. Jesus was now risen, but the truth of his resurrection was not accepted by all. However, the depiction of that early community in Acts 2:42-47 would lead someone to believe it was the opposite situation. We are told of community life where people lean on each other and share great joy. They ate and prayed together, and many wonders and signs were occurring to lift the community and bear witness to the power of Jesus Christ. They were disciples living out their faith, and it was their strong sense of stewardship that made all this possible in the face of threatening Roman and Jewish powers.
Today, we find the Church in a new turmoil. Increasing secularism, abuse scandals, and a lack of true fidelity place us once again in a time that is not easy. A friend of mine likes to say that any challenge of sin we encounter in the Church has its origin in a lack or misunderstanding of the stewardship way of life. We create our burdens by not using our gifts wisely and by turning inward selfishly.
Could we use the story in Acts of the early Church to help us today? If we begin with the decision to give of ourselves completely to God and His people, will we become agents of change? There is only one way to find out.
—Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS