They [devoted] themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer... And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:42, 47b.
We have seen a great number of changes in our culture today and when it comes to being devoted, well, it is called into question. In our current age, our devotion – loyalty, faithfulness, dedication, love, worship – is being drawn in many directions. And if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that our devotion is likely not to the apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer. At least not entirely.
Why not? Because, devotion is a matter of the heart. We can only be truly devoted to something and someone we truly love. So here lies the dilemma. What is it that you love?
In our Bible reading of Acts 2:40-47, we see the birth of the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was phenomenal and miraculous. Who could ever imagine such a tremendous growth from a group of about 120 disciples to over three thousand new believers of Jesus Christ in a short span of time? Isn’t that a miracle? But more importantly is their devotion to God’s words (instructions) taught to them through the apostles and the new community they were in. The teachings and fellowships are both one unit and not to be done in isolation from the other. Similarly, they devoted to the breaking of bread, which is to remember the grace of God they have received in Jesus Christ, and to prayer. These practices were common to the Church and should remain today.
However, in this new digital era, the Church is in danger of fragmenting unless we return to the heart of what it is to be a church – devotion. More people would prefer to devote themselves to one and not the other, usually sacrificing the fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer entirely. We have heard people mentioning that they don’t belong to any specific church community and rather “do” church at home, “online”. The community may become more devoted to “tech” and not “touch” (human interactions).
The first church grew in numbers as the Lord added to them because of their devotion to Him, His words, His worship and His people. Perhaps if we are serious about church growth, discipleship and multiplication, we ought to be honest with ourselves and ask the serious questions: What and who are we devoted to as a church?
You might say, “Since devotion is the matter of the Church, let the pastors and leaders think about it.” I would dare to challenge this wrong thinking. You are as much the church as every other believer. And so, this matter of devotion is as crucial for you as it is for the pastors and leaders. Your personal devotion to Christ and His Church has a direct impact to the building of the Kingdom of God. You must decide whether you will be devoted.
Devotion and growth are synergistic. As you devote yourself to Christ, the Spirit devotes Himself to your growth, firstly toward spiritually maturity and secondly to numerical growth through faithful disciple-making.
Friends, be devoted and grow!
The Lord be with you.