All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
Acts 4:32 (NIV)
There have been many “unity seeds” that we have needed to plant to be able to answer Jesus’ prayer in John 17 that we would become one as the Father and He are one. Those “seeds” have included a resolve to follow Jesus and treat each other just like He treats us in the way we accept one another, extend mercy to one another, and love one another. Douse all of those with utter trust in God, and we will have come a long way in becoming “All for One”.
But we’re not there yet. One critical “unity seed” we need to plant is a very practical one – putting others first. You can’t come anywhere close to claiming you are following in the footsteps of Jesus without putting others first. This is a sign that you have embraced the kingdom Jesus longs for you to experience when it actually gives you JOY to put others first.
Such was the case with the early church we read about in those latter verses of Acts 4. They were in very, very close community with each other. They knew each other’s needs. It gave each of them greater joy to share what they had with someone else who didn’t have it. And they didn’t just share leftovers, hand-me-downs, etc. They shared EVERYTHING! They sold fields and gave the proceeds to help those who didn’t have. They mastered putting others first.
And what happened? Droves came into the church. It fulfilled why Jesus prayed that we would be one – “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23b (NIV) Given our lack of unity today, it’s pretty hard for those who do not yet know Jesus to imagine that God sent Him in to the world for them to experience His love. It’s time for us to put others first in EVERYTHING and become “All for One”.
Lord, let this reader and I be “All for One”, and may Your grace be powerfully at work among us so that we put others first in EVERYTHING we do.
This is the first in the “Put Others First” series of blog posts.