Sometimes answers to prayers come in a very unexpected way. My prayers this week have been for clarity in God's timing and the discernment of His will. Let's be real, those are my prayers every.single.day. I am a go-getter...once I get an idea I want to go! I was worried that some of my most recent ideas aren't exactly in His timing. Take for example the decision to sell most of our belongings even though we are still in the house.
I had felt an urging to move forward after reading the George Muller book. His story was so inspiring and I thought if I am to expect Great things from God just like George did, then I must act like I am living in expectation. I am expecting God to help us sell this house, however, I wasn't acting like it was going to be sold anytime soon. I was holding on to all of my possessions, not wanting to let go.
However, after selling the dining room table, the couches, the television, the bedroom set and much, much more I was beginning to have doubts. Will the house sell if it isn't staged? Where will we sleep? How will we be able to entertain guests? You know, the usual concerns. As doubt sank in I really questioned my motives? Was all of this really to watch God at work in our lives, or to exercise my own power.
Doubt was sinking in so fast I was allowing it to spiral, even causing an argument between Forbes and me. On Sunday morning as I sat in church and listened to the message, I felt more encouraged than I had in weeks. In the sermon, Doug suggested that when unity exists we can know that it is God's will. During our spat the previous evening I was questioning whether Forbes and I had entered into our decision to sell belongings as a united front, or was it just my idea that he was dragging his feet through? Forbes assured me that we were united in this decision and that comforted my doubts.
Our scripture reading for Sunday was this:
"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."
We learn from the early church that the Holy Spirit generates unity. Real unity is uncommon. The early church was united with a common purpose, to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus. They were united by common devotion. The passage says they were one in heart and mind. Their desire and choices were the same. And they were united by a common gift: grace. Much grace was upon them all. By our own efforts nothing can and will happen, but only by the grace of God.
Forbes and I stand as a united front. When we make any decision we always consult each other. And if we need to, we hash it out until it is decided that yes in deed we are in agreement. Our decision to sell our belongings was made by both of us, and my doubts were a result of the comforts of home being taken away.
We also learned from this reading that the Holy Spirit generates loyalty and generosity. Loyalty to Jesus, but also to the leaders God has appointed within the church and elsewhere, and of course loyalty to each other. This scripture tells us there were no needy persons among the early church. What a beautiful example of how to live Christ-like. Of course without generosity that would not have been possible. No one claimed their possessions as their own. It is in our nature to hold tightly to what "belongs" to us. Letting go of my furniture took me for an emotional roller coaster ride. It calls for a radical attitude shift to believe that all your possessions are for others to share. Only the Holy Spirit can ignite this lifestyle change.