“The Believers devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers.”-Acts 2:42
I am not a fan of cliffhanger endings in movies. I remember when “The Matrix: Reloaded” came out. The theater booed (loudly!) when the last frame came up and went straight to the credits. We want a resolution to our stories, not something that leaves us begging for more! In Acts, some supernatural stuff has taken place. Christ has resurrected and ascended in to heaven (Acts 1). The Holy Spirit has just come down on the disciples (Acts 2:4), and 3,000 people have come to know the Lord (Acts 2:41). So why didn’t the Lord just come back at that moment and set up His Kingdom then? The supernatural occurs, and it ends with a bunch of folks eating meals? Yes! Why? Christians have work to do.
First, God works through opportunity. The believers came together in Acts in a time when it wasn’t safe to do so. In Luke 5, did Jesus, the one who could walk on water, really need a boat to tell Peter he would be a fisher of men? God grows His kingdom through people. Giving a people the opportunity to serve because “the Lord has need of you” is a far more effective and positive way to know God’s will then for God to end it all with a special effects extravaganza. Jesus resisted such temptations to the point of death (see Luke 23:37). Second, God works through desire! Scripture says the 3,000 believers “devoted themselves” to teaching, community, eating together, and prayers. As a Pastor, I struggle with this the most. I may have the best sermons, and the soundest theology about the Word and who Jesus is; yet if I don’t have a conviction and desire to learn about Him and talk about Him, then my life is a fool’s errand and we are simply re arranging chairs on the Titanic. God reveals Himself through those who learn not just what they did wrong, but why they did anything right! As one of my wife’s books so eloquently put it: “Everyone always wants to know where evil comes from. No one ever asks where goodness comes from!” God has kept the story going in a cliff hanger of meals and prayers, because he Has given us the tools to take advantage of every opportunity and love His Son when all other loves fail. Use His tools, and you will “more than win” (Romans 8:37) because of Christ. Winning in Him doesn’t leave you hanging, He sets you free (John 8:31-32).
John Thomas is a Pastor at Carroll Springs United Methodist Church.