My friend and preaching colleague Ken Green recently shared this touching story on facebook.
It was the closing night of a summer VBS. The teacher of one of the classes had missed one night and hadn’t encountered a boy who had come that night and who was there that Friday. He only had one hand. It shook her a little and she began to be afraid that the others might make fun of him. But things went smoothly and she soon put the boy’s handicap out of her mind.
When they assembled in the auditorium and the time came for the closing program she led the children to the front and told them: “Now, let’s all build our churches. Put your hands together now, here’s the “church,” here’s the steeple . . . .”
Suddenly, she was aware of what she had done. The little boy couldn’t build a “church” because he had only one hand. After a moment of awkward silence, the little girl seated next to him held her hand up to his and said, “Here, let’s build the church together.”
Together. That describes the relationship of the early church in Jerusalem.
” And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)
There are at least 5 ways in which this text speaks of these Christians being together.
(1) They were together in their fellowship. After all that’s what fellowship is. It’s togetherness. Commonality. Joint Participation. Sharing. Their fellowship extended beyond the assembly into their daily activities. Into their homes.
(2) They were together in their ministry. They realized a need existed among their fellowship. So they shared their possessions with each together. No one went hungry. No one lacked. No one suffered. They were together.
(3) They were together in their worship. They were united in their teaching based on the inspired apostle’s doctrine. They shared in communion. And together raised their voices in prayer and petition to the Lord. Together they praised God.
(4) They were together in discipleship. Through the apostle’s teaching they were edified. The book of Acts records the strength of this movement as they followed Jesus, modeled His character, and developed spiritual discipline. Together they were one in Christ.
(5) They were together in sharing the Good News. As a result the church grew. New Believers were added. And together they became stronger.
Together. It was a key to their success. And ours. If we are to follow their example. When you do a Bible word search on “together,” here’s what you learn.
We have been “united together” in Christ. We are “heirs together.” “Raised up together.” And “knit together.” “Built together.” “Fitted together.” So we are to be “workers together.”
Who? Men. Women. Young people. Old People. Elders. Preachers. Deacons. People with great abilities. And some with disabilities. The strong. The weak. Black. White. Asian. Hispanic. Latino. Everyone.
Together. We add value. Share strengths. Overcome challenges. And provide a loving atmosphere where faith is strengthened and hope is fortified.
Together. We offer a helping hand to those in need.
Together. Let’s build the church.
–Ken Weliever, ThePreacherman