Contagious Fellowship

Imagine for a moment that you’re on a company assignment in a city far from home and your work project has unexpectedly been extended for a few more weeks. Not knowing anyone in the area, you feel stranded. Thus you go online to look for a church nearby. You locate one not too far from your hotel and decide to visit it. When you arrive at the door, you are warmly welcomed. The service starts and you sing along to familiar songs; then the pastor shares an encouraging message from God’s Word. Afterward a few people invite you to lunch, where you end up sharing with each other how God is working in your lives. As you go back to your hotel room, you think to yourself…It seems like I’ve known these people for a long time, almost like family.” God designed fellowship for this very purpose.

How is “fellowship” formed? Is it something short lived or something that is developed over time? The word “fellowship” carries with it the idea of our sharing something in common with others… being partners who participate in each other’s lives. You cannot enjoy “fellowship” by simply being a spectator at an event, as “fellowship” requires your and others’ participation. You don’t have to become best friends in order to enjoy “fellowship”; Christians enjoy “fellowship” by simply identifying with those who have received the blessings of God’s great salvation and who acknowledge His continuous work in their lives. Because of this we can enjoy “fellowship” regardless of whether you’ve known a person for 30 years or a mere 30 minutes. As we are called into “fellowship” with God (1Corinthians 1:9), so are we called into “fellowship” with one another.

Have we lost the meaning of “fellowship” because of life’s business, or have we changed its meaning to “attendance” by simply being present at an event without any personal participation in each other’s lives?

For centuries, authentic “fellowship” has characterized the awesome connection the people of God have (Acts 2:42). There is a passage in the book of Hebrews (10:32-33) where we are told how some Christians in the first century were being persecuted because of their Christian faith and literally had their properties confiscated. The depiction of “fellowship” here is astounding. Other Christians came to stand with the persecuted and became “sharers” with them in the ordeal. In the original language, the word used here for “sharer” is the same word that is often translated as “fellowship”. As believers, we can thus experience true “fellowship” while enjoying a cup of coffee with each other, and we can also experience it when sharing our deepest hurt and difficulties with tears.

What about our workplace… Is it void of any “fellowship” due to time restrictions in our workday? This could be true for some, but we hear from many Christians who dedicate their break times to invite their fellow-Christians to share what they have in common at the workplace. We are told they gather for “fellowship” for a few minutes to encourage one another with God’s Word and to pray for one another, the needs of their coworkers, and their company. They tell us the “fellowship” is rich and provides support and encouragement in ways they had not imagined.  The workplace has its shares of troubles and difficulties that afford Christians an opportunity to share in deep and meaningful ways in each other’s lives.

Every Christian brings into their workplace a shared connection through Christ that exceeds their company identity and job position. It allows them to share together in the simplest and yet most profound ways. As “fellowship” is meant to be intentional and inviting, we must be approachable and take steps to engage with others; in doing so we will discover God’s design for our having “fellowship” with Him and with one another.  Engage in meaningful “fellowship” in your workplace … you’ll be amazed what God will do! (PMC)

 

“What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have ‘fellowship’ with us; and indeed our ‘fellowship’ is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)