Gladness & Simplicity

8.31.23 Devo Image

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”—Acts 2:42–47 (NIV)

Today’s passage in Acts follows the Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. The early church was on a high as there were 3,000 who now believed and were baptized after listening to Peter’s first evangelistic sermon. Today’s passage is the result of this moment.

There’s no denying it, today’s church looks quite distinct from when the early church was first established, but its ethos still remains because to this day we continue to share in the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, eating together, and prayer. The first and last are obvious activities for spiritual formation, but what about the two middle ones? Eating with people, doing life with people? On the surface, they seem like common, everyday activities that aren’t really acts of worship and spiritual formation. After all, we all have an innate desire to belong and we must eat food to literally stay alive! But when you dig a little deeper, we see that these practices truly lead to both salvation and sanctification for many!

Human beings share those two in common: fellowship and food. There’s nothing better than enjoying a meal with great company! 

Since 2009, I’ve had the honor to belong to a community at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale as a team member in its restaurant, The Grill. I didn’t only witness the community myself, but had the gift to cater delicious food and a space for true fellowship to happen. On a personal note, my husband and I both met working there in 2010, and we married there in 2011. I’m not exaggerating when I say The Grill is literally my family.

The restaurant is open seven days a week to the public and is also a place where unbelievers and those skeptical of faith can still feel welcomed and share a meal with family or a friend. Our friendly staff wear a black t-shirt as their uniform with The Grill logo discreetly in the front upper left side which proudly states Acts 2:46 with “Gladness and Simplicity” highlighted on the back. Gladness and simplicity of heart are our motivations of why we do what we do, and we pray this is evident in our service. We serve “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve . . .” (Matthew 20:28 NIV).

The best part of the job was listening to ordinary people with extraordinary stories of loss, love, transformation, and God’s faithfulness. I got to witness firsthand lives being changed, people being ministered to, cared for, and prayed over as they broke bread and spent time together. I got to see and participate in moments of celebration, mourning, grief, and loss, in discipleship and evangelism, in hard conversations and incredible spiritual formation! This is what happens when believers gather in Jesus’ name and in mutual love and devotion to Him and one another.

And here’s the best part: You don’t have to work at a restaurant to witness this or be part of it. This can take place in your home, school, workplace, local coffee shop, or whatever restaurants you frequent! All that’s required are believers who are ready and eager to share their faith and food and gather with “glad and sincere hearts.”

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”—Hebrews 10:24–25 (NIV)

Pause: Do you currently belong to a small group? If so, how has it impacted your life and those around you?

Practice: If you haven’t yet, join or host a small group or sign up to volunteer and find your community!

Pray: Heavenly Father, I’m so thankful You didn’t create me to live this life alone.  Thank You for giving me opportunities to serve You and feel at home with other believers. May Your Word continue to inspire me to spur others toward love and good deeds and may I not forsake gathering together. Amen.  

About the Author

Alessandra Velsor

Alessandra (Ally) Velsor has been part of the Calvary Chapel staff since 2009. Because her family owned various restaurants growing up, she determined to do something else and got a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication. But… never say never…

She served in The Grill at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale for 14 years as a server, restaurant manager, and catering manager. She’s currently serving as the cafe supervisor in the Plantation campus. She met her husband, Kenny, working at The Grill and married him in 2011. They have two amazing children Joshua and Sunny.