Today I began a new chronological epoch in my yearly Bible reading as I opened the book of Acts. I always love this point in reading through the Bible: all the wicked kings are buried in their tombs, I survived Ezekiel’s apocalyptic visions with only a few more questions than last time, Job has been restored to health, and a multitude of intricate prophecies have been fulfilled in that one perfect life sacrificed on the cross. Now the church is born and for the first few chapters of Acts, the church shines in all her Godly glory, as yet untroubled by false teachings that will soon creep in.
The beauty of this freshly born fellowship is captured in Acts 2:46 (KJV).
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
The phrase singleness of heart really caught my attention today. Alternative translations are sincere heart, humble attitude, and simple heart. How beautiful these words sound! What would it be like to have a “single” heart?
The word in Greek is aphelotes, and it is a compound formed from the prefix a, meaning without, and phellos, a small stone or pebble such as one that could cause you to stub your toe. This is really interesting in light of scriptures like 1 Cor 10:42, and Romans 14:13 where we are exhorted not be become a stumbling block to others.
So God wants our fellowship to be not just without stumbling blocks, but without stumbling pebbles. What would it look like to get together with a group of fellow believers without the possibility of any interaction causing irritation or hurt or frustration? Well it would look pretty much like Chapter 2 of the Book of Acts, where everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit and continued in the apostles’ teaching. How hard can that be?
Simple Gifts by Joseph Brackett, a Shaker dancing song
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d, to bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight, till by turning, turning we come ’round right.