All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. (Acts 4:23-34)
I’ve lived in my affordable senior housing apartment building for just a year now, and I have some anecdotes to share with you.
Just the other evening, I went downstairs to my neighbor Theresa’s house to borrow some soda. My tummy wasn’t feeling up to par and I never drink soda, so never have any in my fridge. She, on the other hand, had just returned from Dotty’s house to borrow soup; she wasn’t feeling well either.
A few days before, Betty, my downstairs neighbor, had come up to my place to borrow two stamps to pay her bills. We’ve all borrowed $10-20 at the end of the month for groceries when money is tight, always paying back the following month, always returning the favor when someone else is in need.
When anyone borrows, it is met with, “Oh, don’t worry about it. I’m sure I’ll need something next month.” Always, the giver gives in grace and love. We all seem to have surplus when someone else has lack. Eggs, bread, a hug, a listening ear.
There is a table in our community room labeled, “For Give and Take.” There have been clothes given and taken; kitchen appliances, bedding, lamps – you name it, it’s been there. Our own free garage sale, every day of the week.
When someone is sick, there is always an offer of a grocery run, or a trip to the local Vietnam restaurant for a bowl of Phó noodle soup.
Ida and Susan (the other Susan) put together Sunshine Baskets for people getting out of the hospital. They contain a “Welcome Home” card, gender appropriate toiletries, snacks, devotionals and other welcome sundries. We all contribute to the baskets as we can. It’s a tithing for our own church community.
A few months after I moved in the gentleman living across from me died. He wasn’t discovered until a week later. The people in my building knew something was wrong and kept insisting the manager open up his apartment (she refused – didn’t even call the police – and was later fired).
I realized after that incident I am the only person in my building who doesn’t have children. No one to check up on me. Freaked me out. After talking with my neighbors, we exchanged emergency information and told each other where our spare keys are. Now, we all check in with each other and tell each other when we’re going to be gone overnight. (HUGE relief.)
Oh, sure, some among us grumble and gossip Some hang on to petty grievances against each other. Some even get pissed when we pray in public or talk about Jesus.
Yet, there are those among us who check in with each other. Who pray for each other. Who seek out God’s heart below the surface of the ones whose hearts appear to be hardened.
Behind these doors and between these walls, the Holy Spirit is among us doing His work in us. And Jesus is smiling down on us because we feed the hungry among us, and give drink to the thirsty, provide clothing, and offer comfort to those of us in need.
Hallelujah for God’s generous grace.