Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Significance

Are You Willing To Be Common?

A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.” 
– Acts 2:44-46 (ESV)

For years I searched for answers to questions coming from a broken and doubting heart. I’ve wrestled with questions such as these:

“Am I special?”

“What is my value?”

“Is there meaning in my life?”

There just didn’t seem to be anything significant about my life. I felt lonely and sad. If only I could find the traits that would make me more lovable!

Ultimately, the answers to my doubts have come from God, through His Holy Bible. His words to me have been loving, gentle and affirming, as a good Father is. In building me up, I became strong enough to receive a new message from Him, one that requires bold faith and trust: Are you willing to be common?

While accepting God’s opinion about my value, I had continued to seek my place in the world, searching for a unique talent, profitable business or popular ministry. Didn’t God’s favor mean abundant blessings of fame and fortune? Treating our internal illness of unbelief with the world’s physical therapy will only keep us incessantly treating symptoms. It’s when we address our Creator Himself that the healing will come. 

The Bible says:

Truth will set us free. (John 8:32)

The Spirit of Truth guides us into all the truth. (John 16:13)

God’s Truth helps to sanctify us. (John 17:17)

Emboldened and inspired by these promises, I became a student of the Truth. I read scriptures, delving deep into Living Water by researching the original texts in the Hebrew and Greek. My life began to look different, less desperate and more confident. I had less tendency to compare myself with others. False beliefs became easier to spot and address. I saw all life—mine included—as premium. I felt special!

In the book of Acts, there is mention of others who, like me, had a lifestyle turn around when they heard the truth revealed by Christ. These early Christians are commonly referred to as “the Acts 2 Church.” Reading about their behaviors and selfless love for one another, a specific verse jumped out at me in Acts 2:44 (ESV), which reads, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common.”

I would certainly not say that I had all things in common with my fellow church-goers. Far from it! We are as different as opposing political parties. So what did this all things in common mean?

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon lent insight into the word common. The Greek word koinós is typically used in the context of the “ordinary”, but more profoundly, also the “defiled or unclean.”

With this surprising definition, I saw that these early Christians came together knowing they were equal in their sin. Despite labels of rich or poor, male or female, Jew or Gentile, spiritually they all suffered from the same common illness: sin.

So what did they do? They responded in opposition to the world’s answer ... they gave. Rather than striving to gain worth, they understood their value with God and surrendered all else. By selling all their excess, and dispensing it, they no longer had need.

Wow! No more need! I thought back to how desperate I was to have value so I could be lovable. My need was great.

Rather than striving for the attention of people, God was asking if I could accept His love as sufficient, and follow His direction in a life of service. Could I, day in and day out, tie an apron on my ordinary, sinful self, not to gain value, but knowing I already had it? Would I believe in His way?

Friends, God’s heart is summoning us to the work of coming together as a unified family. His call is to care for one another.

Perhaps, this is the message God is speaking from His Heart to yours:

Dearly Beloved, please accept my invitation to work for the Kingdom of Heaven. In this position you will be serving the needs of others. The hours will be long, the duties taxing, but the compensation is generous. Will you come and be common? Love, Your Heavenly Father.

Author Bio:

Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior. 

She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.