Yesterday I mentioned that the early church practiced four things whenever they gathered in community. The first thing was they devoted themselves to learn “The Apostles’ teachings.” They communally spent time in God’s Word. The second thing they devoted themselves to was “fellowship.” That simply means they shared their lives with each other. It’s more than a meal together, or going out to a movie or watching a sporting event together, it’s more personal and intimate than that. It involves being open and honest about feelings and hurts and pains and needs along with a willingness to share and be shared with as appropriate. The early church even shared their possessions. It was not “communism,” an official program in which an authoritative entity divides the wealth among the population. It was a voluntary giving “as each had a need.” In other words, they simply took care of each other and in so doing, they took care of themselves. It was a spontaneous lifestyle of Jesus’ disciples.

I have a small group. It’s our domino group. We get together once a month and play. In this high-tech world of video games, which my sons and grandsons are getting me into (I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee!), you don’t see dominos played much anymore. When Kathy’s Mom was in the nursing home after her operation, we visited her after Church one Sunday and I noticed a small group of elderly people playing dominos in the cafeteria. I guess that tells you who I identify with! But Dominoes is a very interesting game. The only way you can win is be giving away everything you have. It’s not the one with the most dominos at the end that wins, it’s the one with the least.

I was thinking that it’s a lot like the Christian life. The person next to me plays a nine, I have to identify with them and play a nine also. The more you go along with what others play before you, the faster you get rid of your dominos. Then when you have submitted to what was played and have given yourself away and all your dominos are gone, you’re the winner. David Jeremiah made this comparison also in his commentary on the Power of the Holy Spirit and he concludes, “When we give ourselves to God and let His Spirit fill us and control us, we will give ourselves to others, rather than protecting ourselves and holding on to what we have. And then, when we’ve given it all away, we win. When we are in eternity together, what we have won will be so much greater and more radiant than what we gave away that our small sacrifices will hardly be worth remembering. Except to the One who never forgets.”

“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:19