The first time I met “Sam” (not his real name) he was sitting on the sidewalk along one of the city’s major downtown streets. In front of him on the walkway I noticed a somewhat worn paper coffee cup. In the cup were a few coins. City by-laws do not permit folk in circumstances similar to Sam’s to verbally or with signage solicit money from passers-by, but it was clear that Sam was a man in need.
I chatted with Sam awhile. Learned he had a desperate health problem, but Sam was not in despair. Sam had learned to live one day at a time, thankful for whatever blessings came his way. When he occasionally had a bit more than he needed at that moment he gladly shared with another individual in need.
I moved on… but my encounter with Sam stuck in my head… in my heart. There was something about Sam… I felt an affinity with him… a bond which I could not understand.
I encountered Sam many times since. As I had the ability I helped him out at times with token grocery voucher, cold drink or toiletries. But it was not until most recently that I learned Sam was a brother, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, a member of the eternal family of God.
No wonder our fellowship was sweet. The affinity I had sensed from the start was the affinity we shared in the Holy Spirit. As Paul writes, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Rom. 8:16).
True Christian fellowship is much more than simply a bunch of like-minded individuals gathering together. True Christian fellowship includes our very real interactions with God Who fellowships with us as well.
John writes, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3).
Paul adds, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9), and “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor. 13:14).
Christian fellowship is not just a house party, potluck, or golf game. It can be all that, but has also a much deeper connection point, “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:13) into which we ought all be daily growing deeper and encouraging in one another.
Christian fellowship is a wonderful and necessary thing. The psalmist writes…
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Ps. 133:1-3)
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