The concept of “Pay it forward” has ties to ancient Greece and the 1916 book In the Garden of Delight. Yet, as I studied the Bible last week, the apostles of the first century used pay it forward as a means to eliminate poverty. When faith and family come together to form a church, various expenses arise which one person can rarely pay for on his own. Yet, when an entire congregation develops the mindset that everyone in the church is family, every financial need is met.
And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers. 43 And a sense of awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles (the special messengers). 44 And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common; Acts 2:42-44.
Based upon the passage above, the first century church practiced four core principles. Bible study, fellowship outside the church. meeting together as a body to worship and prayer. As members of the first century church habitually maintained these core spiritual disciplines, faith and family slowly came together. Yet, Philippians 2:1-4 serves as a reminder that sometimes individuals need to take a step back to get their own life back on track before they can help others in the church.
And they sold their possessions (both their landed property and their movable goods) and distributed the price among all, according as any had need. 46 And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord’s Supper]. They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts, 47 Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding [to their number] daily those who were being saved [from spiritual death], Acts 2:45-47.
Unfortunately, most families have a hard time meeting together over the holidays without two members getting into some sort of a heated argument. When personal preferences interfere with unity, it’s better to agree to disagree rather than carrying on with a long-winded exchange of words. The apostle Paul’s advice for moving beyond disagreements is by adopting the mind of Christ, Philippians 2:5-8. While this transformation won’t happen overnight, as Christian’s become servants of God, faith and family come together.
by Jay Mankus