Having All Things In Common
Many have read in the New Testament how people decided to have “all things in common.” A few groups, down through the centuries, have even tried to emulate this type of communal living. However, most of the time, trying to live communally has failed. I ask you “why?”
The conclusion I have come to is that having all things in common was a result of something greater and not just an end in and of itself. In fact, what we may be seeing happen in the book of Acts may be an outflow of a deeper spiritual experience than many of us have ever known. Perhaps people simply did not want to leave the presence of God or the fellowship of their brothers and sisters and so “having all things in common” was the easiest and most logical way to be together.
What was this powerful experience you might ask? I suspect it is the experience of being one with God. How else could the mere shadow of Peter heal the sick? As people continued in one accord they began to allow God to live completely through them (as Peter did.) Since God is love they began to experience the love of God through each other and that spiritual union of Christ’s body is what made them lay down their worldly possessions at the apostles feet and have all things in common (Acts 4:35) .
Many have experienced this in bits a pieces not knowing what it was or what to do with it. Sometimes we have felt the love of our Father flow through us to others or have experienced God loving us so completely through our brethren that is shocked us. It felt right…it felt like home…yet the depth, the utter abandonment, and the purity of His love stumbled our natural minds and sensibilities. We sensed, in our spirits, that such love was actually the tree of life that we so desperately needed yet we were afraid to venture very far away from the tree of the forbidden fruit that we knew so well.
We see a description of this type of divine love in 1 Corinthians 13. This is a completely unselfish love and as such is foreign to many of us who are confused about what pure love really is. This chapter illuminates the type of love that bound the first century Christians together and made having all things in common the only spiritual thing to do. In fact, any mention of love in the New Testament is talking about an experiential love that they all shared. This type of Divine love was the “norm” for the first century church although it seems foreign to us.
Finally, such love is not of this Earth but is a free gift given from our Father above. It is a heavenly love. Just as we asked to receive salvation, just as we asked to be filled with His Spirit, we can also ask to be filled with His love. In fact it was a new commandment of Jesus before he ascended into heaven.
As we walk with God we too will become one with Him and His love (which is His life) will flow through us like a river and then, “They will know we are Christians by our love one for another.”