I believe it was my daughter. We were sitting around the dinner table. She was about 3 years old. She waited for the opportunity, spoke very clearly and announced: “Good food, Good fellowship.”
I had no idea where she heard a phrase like that. I certainly don’t remember saying it. My guess is she heard it in Church. We come to a part of the verse found in the second chapter the book of Acts in which Luke records that the newly formed entity which would come to be known as the church, “continued steadfast in the Apostles doctrine, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers.”
What does it mean to have fellowship? Is it merely to meet with acquaintances? Is it a mandatory meeting of the staff? Or is it something more intimate and substantive than that?
When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the incredible series of books about middle earth and the Hobbits, he entitled one of the books, “The Fellowship of the Ring.” In it, a most unusual, very unlikely assembled group of characters forms a fellowship gathered around a purpose. They swear allegiance to each other and set off on their perilous journey. I think that fellowship is like that.
In the life of any church there is a constant flow of new people, people in crisis, people celebrating and people mourning. There are some who are very mature in the Lord. There are others who have never cracked open a Bible in their entire lives. What then is the basis for our fellowship?
It isn’t merely similar likes and dislikes. It is more than common circumstance. No, it is what we have in common. We are all recipients of great grace, we have allegiance to the same King and we are embarked on a mission that demands our commitment.
A club meets to enjoy a similar hobby. A committee gathers around a common task. A team assembles to engage in the same sport. The church, however, assembles for purposes that are far beyond our individual agenda. We are called into this fellowship, we are incorporated into a Body, and the basis for our fellowship is more like a blood relationship.
As we get into the Word this morning, I hope that you will begin to see that that person next to you, or the parent of that child your child has befriended in Sunday School is much more than a casual acquaintance. They are heirs with you. We are all heirs of the promises of God, and we are organically related to one another. Our fellowship is based on nothing less than the very purposes God. Continuing steadfastly in a mission like that makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?