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 Erin Davis

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 bowl: 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 spiritual gifts are given by God “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4–11).

They shared the hope of glory, 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 little, individual kingdoms, destined to pass away, or we can join forces to join God in working on the only kingdom promised to stand forever (2 Samuel 7:16).

If the church in Acts was anything like my community of friends, the people there 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, too, is a picture of hospitality. The way we in the Church respond to each other in the toughest of 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 everyone will know that we are [His] disciples, if [we] love 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 the evidence found in our hearts. The world knows we’re His disciples based on the evidence found in our homes. It doesn’t matter if our houses are big enough, if our floors are clean enough, if our cooking skills are accomplished enough—we should 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.

Post Comments (101)

101 thoughts on "Making Room for the Church"

  1. Mork NMindy says:

    I need prayer! We are a military family and moving to Germany with the military this summer. I was doing ok until summer started getting so close and now I feel overwhelmed and like I am shutting down emotionally. I don’t want to talk to ppl, I am turning down play dates for my kids, I’m preparing for all the hurt of saying goodbye…and I’m making really poor decisions with how to numb the sad/overwhelm.

    I want to finish this chapter well, be present with my kids and help them transition well, I want to do the work I need to do to get our family ready but I am so falling short! I need prayer for hope & strength!

    1. Lindsay Layton says:

      Hey Mork Nmindy! I am a military spouse also with two little kids. We have been overseas for several years and are currently in England. You are going to love Europe and especially Germany! I 100% understand the heartache and anxiety you are experiencing. It’s so hard and overwhelming to fathom your life and the life of your family changing so drastically. I’m praying God gives you peace and patience during this time. That your peace is so abundant you can enjoy these last weeks with friends. One prayer I always pray before we PCS is for fast, kind, and meaningful friendships at our new base. We have moved four times In eight years, and I pray for my future relationships like my life depends on it every time. God has provided lifelong friends at each base and has blown me away with the people he has put in my life. So not only am I praying for your current anxiety for the upcoming PCS but will also be praying for the military family waiting for you in Germany.

    2. Ashley Johnson says:

      Where in Germany?! We have military friends who are in Landstuhl who you would be more than blessed to know! I’d be happy to share her info if you are anywhere close! She is the picture of the hospitality of Christ.

  2. Julie Murray says:

    This is so true and powerful-i want to show this hospitality

  3. Angie says:

    I was struck by the lack of numbers of women posting for this study. I recognize we just finished a longer SRT study and will soon begin another lengthy, in-depth study, which could cause some to “take a break.” Or does the idea of opening ourselves to others, that vulnerability, cause us to hold back?

    Hospitality – making room for each other, is something we as women crave, but I am not sure we always take (or have?) time for. I believe it is something that Jesus is glorified in. Young women, facing the difficulties of college or early years in the workforce need others to hold up their arms in the battles. Working moms need the community of other godly women, both peers and mentors, to come alongside them. At-home-moms need the community of other godly women, young and old. Single gals need to know they are not alone, they are a part, they fit and matter. Older women need to know that God is still in the business of using them, growing them and loving them…in community with other women. Each of us has a purpose. For each of us God has a plan.

    God is all we need and yet, blessedly, He created us to lift each other. Blessedly, here on earth we get to be his gentle hands, His sturdy, stable feet. His eyes of light and love. His words of peace and hope. His heart. We are blessed to serve. Is it always easy? No. Is it always worth honoring God? Yes.

    Posting on SRT is a start. With somewhat a sense of anonymity we read, share, and even lift each other’s needs in prayer. Maybe…hopefully in addition to posting… our hands, feet, eyes, mouth, and heart are physically applying the service God’s puts upon our heart.

    So, thank you for that smile. Thank you for looking at me, in the eyes, acknowledging that you saw me. Thank you for the owie you gently bandaided. Thank you for not becoming angry when I pulled out in front of you. Thank you for giving grace. Thank you for helping me with copies or filing those papers. Thank you for answering the phones and helping me order what I needed. Thank you for the food you prepared. Thank you for emptying the trash or sitting with me when I felt sick. Thank you, thank you, thank you for these and so many more. God is in the business of using the weak and weary exactly where He needs us, when we lay down our self life and press forward in His strength and power. Thank you for being His heart today and every day. The tidal wave started as a ripple…let’s flood this world with Jesus.

  4. Beverly Dukes says:

    Wow, this is powerful! I have loved this whole series of readings, hard as they are to walk out! I am encouraged by the Scriptures every day.

  5. Steph C says:

    Sharing life – sharing joys and sorrows. Sharing blessings and needs. We also attend a small church. There are more young couples now than there were when we married. I am a childless 30-something. My dearest friends there are quite diverse. One is a 70+ grandmother. The other is a mother of 5. We probably wouldn’t have found each other in another setting. But I am so thankful for these women! We have laughed together and cried together. I know that I can text them anytime and they will be there. So grateful for them. Grateful for the unnatural love that grows between members of God’s family. ❤️

  6. Bianca Ejiofoh says:

    Hello Melody,
    I really appreciated this post. I definitely believe that the church is supposed to act like a family and imitate the love of Jesus amongst one another. However, I have heard so many experiences from friends and loved ones that their experiences of ‘the church’ has been very negative and judgmental. What do you do and what do you say to someone who has a sour taste in their mouth from the church? Also, I know many people within good churches that don’t go very deep in relationships because of the gossip culture. How can walls be broken down while trust is established? I come from a culture (Afro-Caribbean) where sharing your personal life (like marriage and family struggles) with others is a BIG no-no for fear of gossip or people using it against you. Is there any wisdom in not sharing certain aspects of your personal life? What should be godly to share?

  7. Wendy says:

    Melody, I understand how you are feeling! I, too, have a son on the spectrum and have felt so alone, especially at church. I knew we needed community, but sometimes it felt like it was just my husband and I, alone in the boat! Even our parents admit to backing away because they didn’t know what to do or how to act with our son. Well that child is 19 now and has more “community” than he knows what to do with! Please know that God is with you and that I will be praying for you and your family! I encourage you and hope that you will not be afraid to reach out if you have questions or need to be lifted up!!

  8. Heather G says:

    Hi Melody,
    When I read your post I hear the depth in “I’m tired”. Hang in there. My situation and circumstances are different..but I know those two words very well. It is a very lonely and bleak place to be. I will pray for you. If you want to chat more I am available. May you see God today!

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