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  • Writer's pictureDominique McKay

Sharing Everything in Common

 Living in Christian Fellowship

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” - Acts 2:44-47

In the 1950s, The Salvation Army, a Christian mercy ministry, trademarked the term “sharing is caring” as their motto. Their aim was to accurately describe how they would operate in the community. It’s a popular phrase that has since been cited throughout pop culture, including on many popular kids’ television shows. But what some might not know is that the motto’s origin actually finds its home in the Bible.

One of the key traits that set the earliest Christians apart from their peers was their capacity to share in sacrificial ways. In the book of Acts, we see Christians giving to others, not merely out of their abundance, but literally selling their property and possessions so that they would have more to give.

The early church wasn’t just giving away its resources. They were also giving of their time — dining in one another's homes and worshiping alongside one another (Acts 2:46). For Christians at that time, being in fellowship together and sharing their resources and time was a part of how they identified themselves as followers of Jesus. 

As Acts 4:32 cites, “No one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” In John 17, when Christ was preparing to go to the cross, he took a moment to pray to God about his followers that “all of them may be one.” One of the reasons it was so pivotal that Christians be united was so that the gospel message would be heard and believed. 

Many of the early Christians actually had very little in common. They were from various backgrounds and socioeconomic communities. For them to live as one family in harmony with one another, making sacrificial choices in how they spent their time and money — not as blood relatives, but as believers in Christ — was a radical living testimony to the unifying work of Christ in their lives.

When we fast forward to the 21st century in which we currently live, we often see a somewhat different structuring of our Christian communities. At our best, Christians might spend Sundays together and perhaps give a portion of our salaries to charities. At our worst, church members are angrily and bitterly divided over an endless number of hot button issues. We no longer often see the kind of radical fellowship and sharing in community that’s depicted in the book of Acts.

What would it look like in today’s context for us to restructure our lives to align more closely with the way our church fathers lived? Perhaps it’s something as simple as starting with paying for a friend’s meal and not asking or expecting that they Venmo you back. Maybe it’s offering someone a ride home at the end of an event regardless of whether or not you're “going their way.”

Perhaps it's not asking to split the Uber fee and just inviting others in on your ride. Maybe it’s asking someone what they are doing for the holidays and if the answer is staying home alone, offering to have them spend the day with you and your family or friends. These small acts of treating our materials goods and time as resources given to us by God for others will make an impact when it comes to being a Christian witness.

As Christian author Lynn Anderson once wrote, “We don’t suddenly, someday, have an abundance of time and money to give. We begin with the little pieces now.”

As followers of Christ, we have an opportunity to demonstrate to the world a unique kind of fellowship that isn’t just about helping our favorite people or giving out of our abundance. Instead, we can radically enter into community and give what we have to those who aren’t like us simply because we want to share the unconditional love Christ has for his people.

Dominique McKay is a Ministry Associate in Washington, D.C.


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