From Craig Swanson…
In Acts 2:42 it tells us that the early church was, “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The “apostles teaching” was the written down words of the apostles that we now know as the New Testament. In January I wrote about the importance of knowing and understanding the word of God. Another discipline that they devoted themselves to was fellowship.
Fellowship literally means partnership – to come along side someone in a close relationship. As the body of Christ we are joined together as a family and are instructed to care for one another. Here is the convicting question we have to ask ourselves – “Are we devoted to fellowship or are we just acquaintances with the people we go to church with?”
Some people slip out the door as soon as the final prayer is over. I’m afraid they don’t even have many acquaintances. The majority of our church though, spends time talking to each other after the service for quite some time. And that is very encouraging. But are these relationships acquaintances we are catching up with or people we are truly getting to know and partner with?
I must say, I’m a fellow struggler in this area. In fact, I kind of feel like a nerd trying to give an athlete tips on how to hold his bat. Relationships are not my strong suit. In my younger years I would have preferred a personal relationship with Christ without the messy relationships of the church. I’ve come to realize I am the church and I have a responsibility to others in the body. Let’s face it – we live in a day where relationships are superficial. Close relationships take time and commitment and in a busy world it’s easy to let commitment to fellowship slide.
So here is my challenge to us – let’s get to know one another. Make fellowship part of the Lord’s Day activities. Determine to invite someone out to lunch after church. Invite them into your home. Really get to know people. Make it a habit. Make it a priority. Just imagine how it will strengthen our body when we become, more and more, the church where people love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)