Life at its best: Love one another
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By Jim Graff
As a kid, I considered myself one of the luckiest in the neighborhood because I lived right across the street from the bakery. Mom would often send me over with money to get a dozen creme-filled doughnuts. I actually looked forward to it because as a little guy, the owner always sent me home with a baker's dozen.
Needless to say, that extra doughnut never made it home.
I visited that bakery a lot growing up, and have even taken my own kids by to try some of their famous creme horns.
On one of our trips home, I'll never forget talking to the mom of a friend who was working at the bakery that day.
As we caught up a bit, I asked her about some of the friends I grew up with. She proceeded to tell me one sad story after another; it actually got a little awkward, and I wanted to change the subject.
But before I could, she said, "Jimmy, you know what the problem is?" Then in her own country sweet wisdom, she began to tell me.
She said, "People don't love each other like they used to. We used to love and show concern not only for our families, but our neighbors and the people of our community. It's just not that way anymore."
I left that day thinking about her words and realized that she was absolutely right. I recognized as the church, we would have to do better.
What was it that made the early church so effective? What qualities did these believers possess that caused them to make such a difference in the world?
Acts 2 says that they were people who lived devoted to one another. They learned together and prayed together in the temple and in their own homes. They shared meals and even their possessions to help those in need. They cared deeply for each other.
No doubt, it was this compassion that caused those on the outside to want to be a part, and daily be added to the church.
Jesus reminded us that our love for one another will be what distinguishes us as his disciples. People all around us long to be part of a loving and supportive family. As we work at loving and serving each other, they'll be drawn in to experience God's goodness and salvation.
Not only were these believers compassionate, they were confident because of God's word. They devoted themselves daily to hearing God's word taught by the apostles.
They recognized God's truth had the power to change any life that embraced it. When we commit to reading and hearing God's word daily, we'll find it can empower blessing in every single area.
Lastly, these believers were cooperative. We constantly see the words, "they," "everyone" and "together" in this passage. They understood that none of them alone could be the body. It took them working together to accomplish God's purposes. And it still does.
Let's see what God will do as we love, learn and serve him well as his church.
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. www.faithfamilyvictoria.com.