Fellowship is a strange word. It is not commonly used today, unless it is in reference to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. And generally, in our Christian circles, we have come to accept the understanding of fellowship to mean a potluck, or some kind of event where people get together and share food. While this is definitely a valid aspect, I think there is more. Fellowship is a spiritual discipline; it encompasses engaging in companionship with those who share like interests–Christ. God brings people into our lives for us to share our lives with, in order that we may grow to be more like his Son. Proverbs 27:17 sums it up nicely by saying: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” (TNIV). The discipline of fellowship is one instrument the Holy Spirit uses to sharpen us.
Because the discipline of fellowship is usually well-liked, and one we tend to naturally engage in, it’s not hard to put it on the back burner and forget about it. If we like it, and it’s easy, then we must be doing it right. But are we? In a culture like ours where individualism is valued, and people lead hectic lives, true fellowship often slips through the cracks. Easily, it becomes something else on our list of things to do. And the people God has brought across our path never get close enough to help us grow; instead they are only allowed a surface relationship, seldom, if ever, experiencing the fellowship God intended us to enjoy, and mutually benefit from.
This week, I am reminded how valuable the people God places in our lives are, and what a joy it is to fellowship with them. Some dear friends, who’ve moved away, are staying at my house for a visit. Through their companionship and conversation, God has reminded me of his call on my life, and helped me refocus my priorities. I feel like I’ve grown more in this week filled with fellowship than I have all year! Relationship and fellowshipping with others is one of the greatest tools God uses to help us become more like his Son. I am challenged to surround myself with people who push me to grow God-ward, encouraging me to reach my full potential in Christ, and to be more intentional about encountering the Spirit in fellowship with them.