Day 11

Making Room for the Church



Psalm 133:1, Malachi 2:10, John 13:35, Acts 4:32, Romans 8:15-17, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 3:8-10, Colossians 3:12-17

BY Guest Writer

Text: Psalm 133:1, Malachi 2:10, John 13:35, Acts 4:32, Romans 8:15-17, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 3:8-10, Colossians 3:12-17

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”
– Acts 4:32

This verse sure feels warm and fuzzy. It’s easy to romanticize the friendships in the early Church. But the reality of our own relationships surely lifts the veil. What is true for us must also have been true for them: authentic community takes work.

Mind if I make a confession? I spent most of my adult life trying to live without intimate, Christian friendship. It was too uncomfortable for me, too messy. The investment didn’t seem to match the payout. But living life outside the circle was like being a fish in a mud puddle: I could survive, but I sure didn’t thrive. My patient, loving, imperfect friends have pulled me out into deeper waters again and again.

I used to think this verse from Acts 4 meant the church shared all their “stuff.” Maybe they rotated the ancient equivalent of lawn mowers and weed eaters, or pooled their money to get a better rate at the fish market. There may have been an element of that, but I’m now convinced they had more than stuff in common.

They shared their gifts, recognizing that talents and abilities are given by God “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

They shared their inheritance, recognizing that we’ve been adopted into the same family by the will of the Father (Romans 8:15-17).

They shared a calling, recognizing that we can spend our lives building individual little kingdoms, destined to pass away, or we can join forces to build the only Kingdom promised to stand forever (2 Samuel 7:16).

If the church in Acts was anything like my community of friends, they shared their burdens too. When the weight of hurt or disappointment or rejection becomes too heavy for one of us to carry, we lay it down, knowing someone else in the circle will pick it up.

Just this week, I was hauling a load of heartache so big I worried it might bury me. My friends stepped in and said, “Let us carry this with you.” My circumstances didn’t change, my heart didn’t instantly mend, but I could stand up straight again. When life knocked me down, these friends picked me up. This is a picture of hospitality.

The way we in the Church respond to each other in the toughest times shoots up a flare. It tells a watching world that we are broken and busy people, eternally bound together with the unbreakable chord of Christ’s love.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
– John 13:35

Yes, hospitality is worth extending because of the benefits it affords us, but there’s a bigger story being told. Jesus knows we’re His disciples based on evidence found in our hearts. The world knows we’re His disciples based on evidence found in our homes.

Your house isn’t big enough, your floors aren’t clean enough, your cooking skills aren’t accomplished enough. Show hospitality anyway. Our hearts and lives are messy. But when we open our doors and our arms, we’re telling the story of Christ’s love.

If you’re living in a fishbowl, gulping and gasping for air, allow hospitality to pull you into deeper waters. Because it’s not just about gathering; it’s about giving. It’s not about neat and tidy; it’s about the poor and needy. It’s not about you. It’s about Christ and His Church.

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Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Post Comments (68)

68 thoughts on "Making Room for the Church"

  1. I also can’t get settled into a church. We are a very liberal family, and don’t feel like we can take our kids to a church where they will be taught to not accept people for various reasons. So most churches that we have tried are not biblically focused enough for me. If we were in a bigger city, I know there would be options, but for now, I study scripture alone- which can be really challenging.

    1. James Muniz says:

      Im sorry to hear that Misty, I really do hope you can find maybe not a church but at least someone you can read and discuss scripture with. Is so hard to live this life alone, we were made for community. I pray for God to place people in your path that will help you to continue to grow spiritually.

      1. Peggy Falk says:

        Those churches just might need your perspective!

    2. Charissa says:

      Hi Misty, are their any Anglican or Episcopalian churches near you? They might be a good fit. All the best on your journey.

    3. Amanda says:

      Also keep in mind that every church, every single one, is made up of human beings. Human beings will never be perfect until Christ perfects us in Heaven. Therefore no church will ever be perfect. I know it is important to find one that aligns more with your beliefs and worship style, it took my husband and I a while to find one when we relocated last year. But we prayed for God’s guidance and to open our hearts. We usually don’t like large churches, but one particular church kept cropping up on Facebook, in conversations, and in our thoughts, so we finally tried it and, guess what? We LOVE it! It broke the stereotypes we held, and if we hadn’t been willing to be open-minded and trusting in God to guide us to the right place, we probably never would have tried it.

    4. Ingrid says:

      Try a Home Church, you can easily start one in your home. That’s what we do, we get together and study Gods word and talk about what it is saying to us at the time. Try googling one in your area, we live it and God really shows up.

  2. Natalie says:

    I so appreciated this! Thanks for the beautiful reminder!

  3. Diane Huntsman says:

    All the love!! All the crying emojis right here!! I forget to check back after a write something on here and then all the sudden I remembered about my pouting post and thought to check back!! I never expected all this love and affirmation!! Seriously girls I’m so touched and so encouraged!! I wish we could all have tea together!! Your encouragement has brought such joy!! Thank you thank you thank you!! May our Lord bless each of you for taking the time to respond to my aching heart today!! Love and hugs!! Xoxo xoxo

  4. Keri McCue says:

    I, too have struggled with Christiancommunity! And honestly, I still do. Sometimes I don’t feel like it’s worth it. So often I feel overwhelmed by the lack of care people have to live for Christ. So often we are consumed with earthly things and it’s exhausting trying to encourage others to be Christ-minded…and exhausting trying to find a group to encourage me when I need that same push! I am trying, and will continue to try but finding true community is stinkin’ hard!!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

    1. Gema Muniz says:

      I totally understand where you are coming from, I have also felt the same way, but my conclusion to this is that you are spiritually more in tune with Christ than some other people. But Keri dont let thid discourage you instead you should use that gift and bring others closer to Christ, you will be surprised how fufilling it is to see lives changed because you took the time to poor into their lives. I hope this helps you and encourages you sister. God bless.

    2. Katie says:

      Keri, I’m right there with you in this season. I listened to a really encouraging podcast series on Revive Our Hearts by Nancy demoss wolgemuth on ministry this week. It really was a great encouragement to my heart on exactly what you spoke of! Ministry is tiring and exhausting!

  5. Alexis Maycock says:

    Ohh this study has been speaking volumes to me so far this month. The line that talks about your house not being big enough, floors not being clean enough, etc- those have been my very excuses for not showing hospitality. Thinking that I need to have everything perfect before I can share my home..my self is such a false premise. I will never be perfect and I have so been missing out on the gift that is hospitality. I am going to be intentional this year about opening up my little apartment, untidiness and all to those who are in need. After all it isn’t about me it is all about allowing God to work through me to reach His people.

    1. Gema Muniz says:

      Amen!

  6. Wendy Kessler says:

    It is always special to glimpse into another person’s heart and recognize the same movement of the Holy Spirit that’s working in mine. I too have a passion to practice numerous forms of hospitality and talk with others about the value of investing in community. I am inspired by your reflections this morning that expand my understanding of the Acts 4 passage through the lens of sharing the intangible gifts we receive through our holy inheritance, as well as our material possessions. Thank you!

  7. Diane Huntsman says:

    But what if church wounds are so deep and church people scare you to death?!? What if you’re getting older and you just don’t even feel needed or wanted in the western “cool” church of today? What if you have learned through experience that you are only truly valuable to the church when you are useful to the church? I long for this buzz word ‘community’ that is thrown around in today’s church culture and yet my wounds are still oozing fresh pain even though 6 years have passed.. I know it sounds like I’m still wallowing in self pity, but I’m truly just trying to figure it all out.. the story is way to long to share on here, but I figure there might be one or two of you on here that relate.. at age 49 it’s such a weird season, kids are grown and gone, the older Titus 2 role seems to be replaced by blogs and it feels like a very lonely season.. wishing I had that community spoken of but alas it is a foreign concept. Thanks for reading and my pity party rant is now over.. if anyone feels so inclined to pray for me in this dilemma for community, I would be grateful! Xo

    1. Rachel says:

      There is a church out there that needs you. Especially to disciple younger women. You don’t have to have it all together (it’s better if you don’t) to disciple others. I am surrounded by women who want more than blogs and books. They want someone to sit with them and be open with them. They want authenticity. It often feels like the older women around us cannot be bothered to look around at the younger women that need guidance. We fool ourselves into thinking that no one else wants this, but I encourage you to assume that others want it as much as you do. You just might be the one that needs to initiate it.

      1. Michelle says:

        Diane, I will pray for you. I am in a similar situation. However God still wants to use you to impact others and grow you at the same time. Although, there are most certainly growing pains along the way. Lean into his direction and trust his ways.

      2. C Gunckel says:

        Thank you both for your comments, as an older woman, 70, (gosh did I really just say that) I encourage you to not be dissuaded by personalities but to find a church home where the gospel of Jesus Christ is being spoken and lived out and get involved. Is this risky? Of course it is but I have found most of the time all those people that liked to show they had it all together really did not. Sometimes they were as broken as I felt. I just have chosen to realize that even if…..I needed to be a part of a church body and fully invested in it. Do I sometimes still get offended, yes I do but I choose to forgive and move on. Praying you will not let the devil have his way and keep you from being all you can be for His kingdom. Much love and prayers being sent your way for healing and a church home where you can be part of an imperfect family, heaven bound for His glory.

    2. Veronica says:

      Praying for you! My heart aches for you. I remember a woman about your age sharing the same agony at a women’s group I was leading. Despite what culture says or what you are feeling, I want you to know that you are CRUCIAL to the growth and health of the church whether they know it or not. Today’s age is different, but your role is not any less important. I am so sorry about the pain the church has caused you in the past- keep pursuing your perfect Father. The younger generation has so much to learn from you, and eventually you will be seen and known. For now, take comfort in the fact that you are already FULLY KNOWN and seen by your Father, who has a purpose and plan for you even still. Praying for you.

    3. Irina says:

      Diane, praying that you find likeminded people in your area that you could share your faith and longing with. I’m almost 49, but still busy with my teenager kids and mostly is around moms who are in their late 30s. They need my experience as my oldest is out of home, he is 26, and I need their fresh view on a teenage life. But moreover, we enjoy our belonging to God’s family . Hugging you, my dear sister, and praying that our mighty God will send someone on your way…

    4. KimN says:

      Hi Diane! I’m sorry you’re struggling with this lonely time. I do agree with Rachel that there are women that would love to draw from your life experiences. You are wanted and needed. I know that I have been blessed often by your postings here so thank you!!!
      I will be praying for you as you seek God’s will for where He wants you. From my own life experience, I have learned to say that while I may not trust a certain individual, I do trust God and His will for my life. Trust Him and go where He sends you! His timing is perfect and He’s preparing a place in your heart and hearts around you. Love and prayers to you today!!!

    5. Emily says:

      Diane, I hope you find encouragement in this group today with this struggle you’re facing! As a young mom with a toddler, I can say with reasonable certainty there are young moms in your area who could benefit from your friendship and experience. I know I relish friendships with moms whose children are older/grown who aren’t family members. You have valuable life experience you can share, and you may find community in the most unexpected place!

      1. Katie says:

        What emily said!!!! Yes! I’m 28 with three small children and “we” need you! Blogs are great but no substitute for real friendships and mentorship.

  8. Stephanie says:

    As a serious introvert, finding a church has been really hard for me. After a year and a half of living in a new place, I think we have finally found the one, thank you lord! Please pray for us that we are able to form relationships there and that my anxiety doesn’t get in the way of that happening. Thank you.

    1. Gina says:

      Me too. We go to a great church…but it is exhausting to me when our church is growing and I am sitting by someone I barely know. (I know it is good that it is growing), and do not get me wrong, I love people, and when I am in the open I can cover up my introvertness (lol), but then when I come home I am drained.
      So lately I have been sad…because we are in this place with no family around. We have been for 10 years..and I have always wanted to be…but moreso now for the kids. My boy is introverted too, but I have seen him with his cousins. Family does not have the same draining effect.
      I need prayer that I will be content, and that I can reach out just a bit. It is not a personality flaw to be an introvert…but I think it becomes one, or anything for that matter, when we let it do the controlling.
      So Stephanie I will pray for you…that things will be comfortable, that people call you by name, and that you feel at home ;) We intro’s have to stick together :)

    2. Tay says:

      Another fellow introvert here :) I so wish I had a group of Christian friends, it is something I have been praying for. It’s hard to be a Christian alone without community, and I usually use my shyness as a cop out. I will pray for you both, as I know what a struggle being an introvert can be!

    3. Gema Muniz says:

      Oh ladies! I do pray for you to not allow the fear to hold you back from building a christian community. God has called us to be uncomfortable not to just sit down and get comfortable in this world. Please step out in faith and join a group in your church or try to get involved, you will be surprised on how God will bless you by putting people in your life that will help you in your christian walk. God bless you ladies.

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