I have a family member who is an impatient cook (hint: it is not Darica). Recently he decided to make a burger for dinner. After taking the skillet out and putting it on the stove, he turned the heat to high and put his patty on to cook. Can anyone imagine what happened after just a few minutes? You guessed it, the outside was nice and brown but the inside was about as raw as it was when he took the meat out of the fridge. Essentially, he tried to experience all of the goodness of a fully cooked burger without taking the time to fully cook the burger. And what happened to this family member of mine in the kitchen can happen to us as followers of Christ. There are things we see and really want to be part of, but we try to shortcut the process by speeding it up. Some things, like a good burger, just take time.
In Acts 2:42 we read that these early Christians “were continually devoting themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” As I re-read that verse recently, the words continually devoting stood out, and I thought immediately of the amazing group of friends with whom I have been in a Life Group for many years. By God’s grace, and with some patient devotion on the part of all of us, we have achieved something that I have longed for a long time. These are my people. But we didn’t get there overnight.
I have heard it said that intimacy is the number and depth of shared experiences. As I think back to the Christians described in this week’s passage, there is no doubt they had both. They were continually devoting themselves to learning and to fellowship (see also verse 46). I am sure there were times when they didn’t feel like being there. I am sure there were times when they wondered if the church had another group they could join. I am sure they had relational hiccups along the way, and I am sure they grew tired of opening their homes and cleaning up and doing all that goes into hosting a group of people for dinner and a discussion. But if I read the text right, they powered through because of their devotion.
As we launch into a week of thinking about what it means to be together on the journey, would you allow me to challenge you to consider two things? First, if you do not have a handful of people with whom you are pursuing Christ, make a commitment to find them, and don’t give up until you do. Second, when you do find them, make a commitment to stay continually devoted even when things get tough and you feel like giving up. As people who are enjoying the fruits of making both of these commitments, I can tell you that each time our group sees each other or meets together, it is “with gladness and sincerity of heart.” (verse 46)
I’ll see you along the way,
Connections & Growth Pastor