Weekly Bible Devotional
“Inflation & the Cycle of Blessings: The Currency of Relationships”
October 9, 2022
Scripture for Sunday: Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Notes on The Text:
The book of Acts is the second volume written by the same author of the Gospel of Luke between the years 75 and 100 CE. Acts is the story of the birth of the Church and its spread from Jerusalem to Rome and from its Jewish roots to its Gentile (non-Jewish) branches/communities. The early church community knew the power and importance of relationships that are centered on faith. The early followers of Jesus discovered the power of their worship gatherings. Even though gathering in the name of Jesus was not always safe, the author of Acts was giving the readers a compelling summary description of the life of the early church to help them see the value in joining the church. There are several summaries in Acts about the life of the early community. These summaries provide a general picture of the activities the new believers engaged in when they congregated under the leadership of the apostles. Our text, 2:42-47, the first major summary, follows the massive baptism that results from Peter’s first speech at Pentecost. What we can get from this scripture is a description of what a Christian community looked like when they were living in the Spirit of God. The early followers of Christ were so focused on the love of God that they knew that relationships were so essential to life. They valued community more than individual possessions or opinions. The power of the Holy Spirit moved them to share with others because relationships were seen as the way of abundant life for the followers of Jesus. Jesus could have performed miracles and done all of his ministry on his own, but he created community because he showed the world that love was the key to the human experience.
With inflation on the rise and many shortages, the dominant story we often hear is that of scarcity and fear. That is why this sermon series is about exploring how to live during this time of high inflation with a deep sense of abundance by expanding our understanding of our currencies. Instead of just focusing on money and possessions as our resources, we are to consider the six currencies of relationships, truth, wellness, money, time and place, and gracious leadership.
This week we are focusing on relationships and how they enrich our lives. Without all the people of our lives, life would not be possible. Consider for a moment how many people it takes for you to be alive each day. Here are a few that came to my mind: Sanitation workers, electricians, plumbers, doctors, nurses, administrators, bakers, teachers, police officers, engineers, and soldiers. The same is true of our spiritual lives. It takes communities of care who help us on the spiritual journey through in-person connections.
One of our core values as a congregation is “Generous, caring, and loving relationships.” The pandemic was especially hard on us as we tried to continue to connect despite all the social distancing and fears of contagious disease. We are emerging from that sense of isolation and are working to strengthen our sense of community by being intentional about building relationships in everything that we do. Instead of focusing on only getting things done, we seek to also focus on building community as we know that the need is so great. Cigna surveyed 10,000 people 18 and older. Three out of five of these adults—that’s 61 percent—reported feeling lonely. Narrow the age range to 18 to 22 and the percentage of respondents feeling lonely jumps to 79 percent. Cigna made its survey public in January of 2020!
Close community is not always easy. Human relationships are often messy and challenging and yet without them, we would wither and diminish in our spirits. The early Church model of community is a reminder for us that a big part of our wealth as human beings is our connections to others. They practiced mutual love and sharing in the ways of Christ and when they failed, they worked things through to regain their focus on love, but at the end of the day, love is what matters most.
Prayer by Brian McLaren:
You are present through the universe
And in the smallest and most fragile creature.
You embrace with tenderness
All things that exist.
Fill us with the power of your love …
Help us to conserve beauty and life.
Help us produce beauty and not filth.
Teach us to discover
The worth of each creation
And be filled with awe and contemplation.
Fill us with your peace that we may live
As brothers and as sisters, harming no one.
Empower us to rescue
The abandoned and forgotten,
Precious in your eyes, God of the poor.
Touch those whose hearts only look for gain,
Careless of the poor and of our planet.
Teach us to discover
How deeply we’re united
As we journey towards your light together.
Thank you for your presence every day.
Give us courage in our daily struggle.
May we work for justice.
May we work for love.
May we all be instruments of peace. Amen.