Let me first began by explaining what I understand to be fellowship. If we look in the dictionary will find definitions such as “the condition or relation of being a fellow”, and “friendly relationship; companionship” as well as “communion, as between members of the same church”. The definition of fellowship is based off the lone definition of fellow, so let’s look at what the word “fellow” means. According to the dictionary it is “a person of small worth or no esteem” and “a person belonging to the same rank or class; equal; peer” as well as “a companion; comrade; associate”. If we break this down, it is a relationship or companionship between persons of the same rank, equal, and possibly a companion. Understanding this basic definition of fellowship it has and is becoming lost in our culture of today. As a matter of fact, we have become such a self-absorbed society, we think of others is often only in a fleeting moment when attention has been brought to them and then we move on to something else.
This all comes about from my experiences over the past seven years as well as discussions that I have had with many individuals who have experienced the same thing and also many that I have counseled to help them move forward from the hurt they experienced from the lack of fellowship. Much of this comes about when one becomes ill, has surgery, or is going through life circumstances that are tragic. We often look around and will hear “if you need anything, let me know” but yet we never see the individual at our door to help. One of the things that got me thinking about this again was that our preacher was stating that for these types of individuals the most important thing we can do for them is to pray. I agree, praying is the most important thing we can do for them but the second most important thing we can do is to practice fellowship with them. There are many people who can give up 15 minutes to an hour a day to call someone who is sick, to shoot them in the mail or a text, and God forbid, actually go to their house and visit with them. Even Christ didn’t stop when asked what the most important rule was with just one rule. He stated the most important rule was to love God with all your heart and soul and in the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. So I ask you, have you loved your neighbor as yourself? Out of all the people that you interact with and know, how many of them have you taken time out of your busy life, to stop and visit with during a time of sickness or tragedy in their lives? I have found in my seven years that this is a rarity in our culture today. We have become so busy with our own lives that we no longer fellowship with those who need it, leaving them with hurt and dissension towards others.
We have become great at excusing ourselves from the act of fellowship. Here are many of the examples of what I have heard:
· I’ve just been so busy, I haven’t had time but I’ve been praying for you.
· Oh, I was wondering where you had been, my life is just so busy I can’t keep up.
· I thought about you every day and said a prayer for you.
· I did not want to disturb you.
· I figured you needed the rest so I would just leave you alone.
· I didn’t think you’d really want company during this time.
Have you caught yourself thinking these thoughts or using these excuses as reasons why you have not taken the time out of your day to fellowship with one who is in need? Many people do not visit because they are uncomfortable dealing with such situations, but are we not call by God to comfort each other as he has comforted us. It is kind of hard to comfort someone if you do not acknowledge their pain until they are able to come back into the pathway of your busy life. This is one of the main reasons I started Gracie Is Yours, the ministry that reaches out to those that are hurting and are alone, who are in need of fellowship. I can only speak for myself when I say that during my times of pain, what I have longed for is the human connection and fellowship. The touch of another human being has healing power and can do more for that individual then one can ever imagine. As for myself, I am very thankful over these past three weeks of my healing for a couple in my neighborhood that had visited me almost daily, to bring me lunch, and fellowship. Mr. and Mrs. Bright have been a shining example of what it is to fellowship with someone who is hurting. Of course, Mr. and Mrs. Bright are part of the older population that understood the importance of fellowship, because in their day and time, that was what you did. How great it would be if we would each take just one person that we know is struggling today, and go visit that person, or call them to see how they are doing? We often talk about how can we impact the kingdom of heaven; my friends, this is one of the ways you impact the kingdom of heaven. So, my challenge is to you and myself, out of the list of names of people you hear that are going through life situations, take time out of your life to fellowship with them and comfort them in their pain as God has comforted you.You are blessed my dear friends – share those blessing with others.