Why we will never be like the early church

A very unconventional experiment was conducted in New York City last month to show how the homeless had become invisible even to their own family members. A hidden camera was strategically placed to catch people walking right past and not recognising loved ones sitting on the sidewalk and dressed as if they were homeless.

Tom, who says he has been married to his wife for 34 years, was unable to recognise his spouse.

Video director Jun Diaz told FastCoCreate only one interview subject was not included in the final product. “There’s only one person that didn’t make it into the film because they couldn’t handle the fact that they walked by their family,” Diaz said.

Draw any conclusions you want, but one thing is clear: our societies need more compassion and sympathy.

It is one thing when non-Christians behave this way, and another when Christians do. In the book of Acts, we read about how every believer “had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44, 45). “[T]he multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common” (Acts 4:32). We can wait till the cows come home but this would not happen in our day and time, I believe. I can say this with almost total certainty because I personally saw it displayed.

In the past months, I had been looking for a job in vain. As time passed, my financial buffer grew thiner and thiner – until it was no more. My Christian friends knew about my family’s dilemma but did not lift a finger to help in any way. Instead of compassion, I saw condescension in the eyes of the brethren. Ironically, we were helped by non-Christians who gave generously to give us respite from our hardship. I am not angry or bitter. I am, however, disappointed at the Church, the so-called Body of Christ which was supposed to build one another up in love.

Granted, Christians do help the poor. We are exhorted not to miss any opportunity to do good – but especially and beginning with those in the household of faith, says Paul. This was exactly what the early believers did. They helped one another till there was no one in lack among them.

What went wrong? Some would attribute the godly behaviour of the early believers to the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost. But, don’t every Christian who is born again have the Holy Spirit as well? If indeed we are right that every Christian has the Holy Spirit living in him/her, then it is not about having the Spirit but about not being led by the Spirit.

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