No Needy People

sheepandgoatbabies

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. (Acts 4:23-34)

I’ve lived in my affordable senior housing apartment building for just a year now, and I have some anecdotes to share with you.

Just the other evening, I went downstairs to my neighbor Theresa’s house to borrow some soda. My tummy wasn’t feeling up to par and I never drink soda, so never have any in my fridge. She, on the other hand, had just returned from Dotty’s house to borrow soup; she wasn’t feeling well either.

A few days before, Betty, my downstairs neighbor, had come up to my place to borrow two stamps to pay her bills. We’ve all borrowed $10-20 at the end of the month for groceries when money is tight, always paying back the following month, always returning the favor when someone else is in need.

When anyone borrows, it is met with, “Oh, don’t worry about it. I’m sure I’ll need something next month.” Always, the giver gives in grace and love. We all seem to have surplus when someone else has lack. Eggs, bread, a hug, a listening ear.

There is a table in our community room labeled, “For Give and Take.” There have been clothes given and taken; kitchen appliances, bedding, lamps – you name it, it’s been there. Our own free garage sale, every day of the week.

When someone is sick, there is always an offer of a grocery run, or a trip to the local Vietnam restaurant for a bowl of Phó noodle soup.

Ida and Susan (the other Susan) put together Sunshine Baskets for people getting out of the hospital. They contain a “Welcome Home” card, gender appropriate toiletries, snacks, devotionals and other welcome sundries. We all contribute to the baskets as we can. It’s a tithing for our own church community.

A few months after I moved in the gentleman living across from me died. He wasn’t discovered until a week later. The people in my building knew something was wrong and kept insisting the manager open up his apartment (she refused – didn’t even call the police – and was later fired).

I realized after that incident I am the only person in my building who doesn’t have children. No one to check up on me. Freaked me out. After talking with my neighbors, we exchanged emergency information and told each other where our spare keys are. Now, we all check in with each other and tell each other when we’re going to be gone overnight. (HUGE relief.)

Oh, sure, some among us grumble and gossip Some hang on to petty grievances against each other. Some even get pissed when we pray in public or talk about Jesus.

Yet, there are those among us who check in with each other. Who pray for each other. Who seek out God’s heart below the surface of the ones whose hearts appear to be hardened.

Behind these doors and between these walls, the Holy Spirit is among us doing His work in us. And Jesus is smiling down on us because we feed the hungry among us, and give drink to the thirsty, provide clothing, and offer comfort to those of us in need.

Hallelujah for God’s generous grace.

24 comments

    1. Thank you. Humbled.

      Like

      1. Thank you for the great article. Truly inspired. Praise God.

        Like

  1. What a wonderful community you live in! This post brought a smile to my face 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    1. You’re welcome, Julie. I’m quite blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like you have an awesome apartment complex, awesome community! Definitely, Holy Spirit at work. 🙂 We have some of that in our small town. I know all my neighbors and we help each other out all the time. We have impromptu get-togethers, throw surprise parties for birthdays, and enjoy each others company. That’s one main reason we live where we do, especially after living in a major city for a long time.

    Like

    1. Oh, that sounds terrific, Mel. It’s pretty amazing when people reach out to one another, and rise above their own circumstances to help a neighbor. I think most of feel quite blessed to be here, and wouldn’t hesitate to reach out, or check in knowing someone has been ill or has been having a difficult time.
      None of us are rich in money, but we do what we can. And we’re certainly rich in love and compassion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You could do those things without belief in god but it sounds like you live in a good place. Good for you guys.

    Like

    1. You’re absolutely right, and I think I indicated not everyone is a believer. I do, however, believe God is working in this place, and we are all doing His work, believer or not.

      Like

      1. I suppose. Or it’s just a solid community helping each other out when needed. No spirit really needed to explain.

        Like

  4. I am smiling ear to ear .I can’t tell you what joy this post brought me. It lifted my spirits and encouraged me to be more genourous. What a blessing to live among folks that look after all your needs. There it’s a song. Count your blessings name them one count your many blessings and see what God has done. I would have to say Susan you have counted your blessings and named them one by one. The biggest blessing is to see and acknowledge the gifts God has given. Thank you for sharing this precious blessing.

    Much love Tom

    Like

    1. You’re welcome, Tom. I truly do feel blessed, and am tearing up as I write this. Before I moved, I kept praying Psalm 107:28-30 – “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and He delivered them in their distress. He made the storm be still and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.”
      Ever since I moved here, I refer to this as my desired haven.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. God sees you Susan and knows your heart. It is nothing strange for him to go before you and bring you safely home. As long as we follow Him God will always provide and look over us. I love this fact about God. He is always faithful, we can depend on Him Always. It is sad that some folks don’t realize this about God. Have a beautiful weekend and be full of the joy of the Lord.

        Joy to you Susan Peace to you

        Like

      2. Always.
        You, too, Tom. ❤

        Like

  5. Wow, Susan. This is encouraging. I would like to say that with age and experience we become more forgiving, tolerant, understanding, empathic. I hope that is so.

    We recently tried to exchange numbers with a couple that walk their dogs in front of our house, because they came up to us and asked if we had seen a kid that drives his car up and down the street, strangely. I thought they would welcome having our number, so I gave them my card. I also volunteered to look out for their house if they were to go on vacation. This couple is in their early 60s, late 50s I would say.

    From that day forward, they have avoided me! I cannot understand it.

    We need to have neighbors who care about us, know our patterns, are available to help in time of need and it has nothing to do with age, or shouldn’t have. I live in a strongly conservative community, so I don’t know what to make of all this.

    Your experience is wonderful and so is your community.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Beth. Sad they turned away your offer. Maybe they need to think about it. Maybe no one has ever offered friendship before. Lots of people react out of fear.
      Yes, this community truly has been a Godsend. Makes me think of Ruth and how she “ended up” gleaning in the fields of Boaz. I applied to other places, waited a long time to hear. This is the community I “ended up” getting into.
      Funny how God works.
      Isaiah 55:8-9 😀

      Like

  6. That sounds like an amazing community Susan. What a delight it must be to feel such a sense of belonging and peace. May the Lord be with you.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Paul. It was worth the wait to be a part of this loving community. Sure, we whine and complain sometimes – heck, we’re seniors! 😉
      But truly, when push comes to shove, we understand life is not about us – it’s about loving our neighbors the way Jesus told us to – even for those who don’t believe…yet.

      Like

  7. Hallelujah indeed Susan. What a wonderful little community you have going where you live there. If only more people could embrace such Christ like love l& show that love to their neighbours in such a generous way. True Christian love in action.

    Like

    1. It really is, Tony. When someone is in need in our own building, we know it right away. When someone in another building is in need, word spreads. It’s unbelievable, and truly show the Spirit is living here in hearts and minds.

      Like

  8. Beautiful. Who would have thought it would take low-income housing to experience the joys of God’s kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven? Another of His grand reversals…

    Like

    1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, eh Tiffany? I’m convinced that’s what keeps us so generous of heart. It truly is His kingdom come.

      Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: