Friday, May 04, 2007

How different perspectives become different goals.

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No-one claimed any stake to personal property but they shared freely with anyone in need. The apostles testified to Jesus with great power and they all enjoyed abundant grace. No believers were needy because periodically somebody would sell a house or land and give the apostles the money from the sale. That money was distributed to anyone in need. One man named Joseph sold a field and gave the money to the Apostles (they called him Barnabas which means: son of encouragement).” Acts 4:32 and following (paraphrased)

In our national capitalistic ideal the communalism of this and similar passages often takes our attention. But please notice that communalism is not the key. The key is (in The Message Bible):

“The whole congregation of believers was united as one - one heart, one mind!”

It’s easy to have generosity at that point. It’s also the Biblical foundation to avoid conflict. Conflict is never avoided by one person running his own agenda regardless of what anyone else thinks. Conflict is never avoided by just being quiet and not speaking up. God is honored when we are truly one heart, one mind. He is not interested in peace obtained through dominance or deceit.

As we discussed last week, we lose the unity of one heart and one mind when we fail to stay focused on the one Goal (what we called the “Big G” goal)

“There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

So, the questions are, how and why do we shift from being united in one Goal (big G, furthering the kingdom of Christ) and allow differing perspectives to become different goals (little g’s).

On Sunday we’ll discuss together:

Ananias and Saphira in Acts chapter 5
The widow’s distribution in Acts chapter 6
The persecution in Acts chapter 8
The sorcerer named Simon in Acts chapter 8

In each of these we’ll ask “How and why, did people make the downward shift to pursuing lesser goals?”One hint to understanding how we make the (little g) goals into matters of inappropriate importance is found in the verses that precede Ephesians 4:4.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:2,3)

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