Week two of ‘Things That Matter’ extends our understanding of discipleship from last week’s message. Our focus today is on connecting people. Acts 2 recounts a moment in the life of the early church that people debate and ponder over today, the day of Pentecost. Pentecost is the celebration marking the Law of Sinai was given to Moses on the calendar of ancient Israel. As with most major holidays, a massive feast is on the celebratory agenda. During the celebration at this point in the life of the Christian church, God chose to intervene through the Holy Spirit. He came down “like a mighty rushing wind” and touched the hearts of each person at the party. The most obvious evidence of His presence being everyone began speaking in languages foreign to themselves. Not only did the Holy Spirit touch the vocal cords of everyone present, He then traveled south and touched each of their hearts, inserting Himself. Now we get to the part of this story that made the early church congregation rock stars in evangelical circles, about three thousand converts were added to the Christian faith that day. The question we picked apart today is how? Why did so many people choose to follow Christ at once and what (if anything) can we do to see people embrace faith in mass droves again?
What we determined is that the key to the mass conversion is in the celebration that was commencing. Meal sharing is a significant part of human interaction and creating relationships. When a couple starts getting to know each other, what is the first logical step in their relationship? The go on a date, 99% it’s out to dinner. What’s the common thread of every family gathering? Food. What can a campus organization add to their bed-sheet banner to almost guarantee first-time guests? FREE FOOD! True at this celebration of Pentecost and still today, the highest honor one person can bestow upon another in the Jewish tradition is sharing a meal.
Acts 2 continues to follow the new Christians, describing how they devoted themselves to the faith and lifestyle taught them by the apostles, continued living in community together, supporting each other, and broke bread together. This breaking of bread bestows the same honor as sharing a meal and is a reference to observing communion, as the apostles taught.
Meal sharing is an effective way of connecting with people, but if to accompanied by genuine care and interest in the person, the relationship cannot grow. Connect with people by over a shared dinner, breaking bread together, but maintain that connection and build those relationships by continuing to do life together after the meal is over.
We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. – C.S. Lewis