THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2019
THE FIRST CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Today’s reading: Acts 4:32-37
The first Christian community established on the day of Pentecost,
led by the apostles, was a powerful witnessing community.
“With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection
of the Lord Jesus” (v.33a). People could see how they
acted and related with one another, “and great favor
was accorded them all.” (v.33b). What were the vital
elements of their witness?
first element is unity of heart and mind. “The community
of believers was of one heart and mind” (v.32a). Through
formation by the apostles and enlightenment from the Holy
Spirit, they took on the mind and heart of Jesus. They were
disciples of Jesus, and they acted in obedience to the one
second element, proceeding from the first, is stewardship,
as “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his
own, but they had everything in common.” (v.32b). They
understood that everything belonged to God, and that what
they called “theirs” was really God’s. As
such, they looked to God to direct them in the use or disposition
of their personal resources. These were to be used for the
good of the brethren and the community.
third element, proceeding from the second, is care for those
in need. They realized God’s love and preference for
the poor, and their responsibility to care for those in need.
The result? “There was no needy person among them, for
those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring
the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the
apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.”
first Christian community was a family! They knew they were
children of the Father and brothers of Jesus. They knew they
belonged to one larger family that had everything in common.
They knew they were their brothers’ keepers, giving
particular care and concern for the least among them. As such,
they bore powerful witness to others, by how they related
to one another, enabling them to accomplish their mission.
first Christian community was a family on mission! May we