by Joy Martin, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
According the website for the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” But let’s be honest, shall we? While at its core, Labor Day is a celebration of the American worker, we really see it a three-day weekend that marks the end of summer. Well, that and a good reason to have an end-of-summer party. At least that’s how Zach and I saw it this year.
We invited friends both old and new, and, as generally happens at a party, they began converging on our house early yesterday evening. We enjoyed the beautifully cool weather, ate good food, watched the kids play, and talked and talked and talked—a lot. We spent hours catching up on each other’s lives, and I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoyed it.
Now, I’d like to point out that the vast majority of our guest list was taken up by a group of friends we fondly refer to as The Guys. The Guys originally gelled as a group when we were in high school and has since grown to include spouses and children—lots of children, as we realized fully last night. And although we are all still amazingly close given all the years that we’ve been friends, we don’t get together nearly as much as we’d like.
Sure, we are all able to keep up-to-date on everyone through Facebook, email, and phone calls, but that’s just not the same. There is something to be said about sitting across the table from a friend and having a real conversation. It’s wonderful to watch our kids play together, to see smiling faces, and to share hugs.
And so as I struggled to come up with a blog last night after the last guest had left, Zach said, “You should write about fellowship.” I have to be honest that at first I didn’t see how I was going to be able to connect our party, which was indeed filled with fellowship, with Christian fellowship. But this morning I see a pretty profound similarity.
Going all the way back to Creation, we can see that we were created as social beings. Genesis 1:18 says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” And so God created Eve so that Adam would have a partner—someone to fellowship with.
We see this repeated in the New Testament, although this time it’s in the context of believers coming together. In Romans 1:11–12, Paul writes, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” And in Acts 2:42, we’re shown the importance fellowship played in the early Church: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Now, is it absolutely necessary to fellowship in order to be a Christian? Absolutely not. However, I do believe that fellowship plays a critical role in our growth as followers of Jesus Christ. It’s through spending time together in worship, study, and even simple socialization that we are able to learn from mature believers and encourage those who are new to the faith. As humans, we need that interaction.
In Matthew 18, Jesus also teaches that there is, in fact, power in numbers, so to speak. In verses 19 and 20 He says, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
So wherever it is you find yourself in your walk with Jesus—whether you’re just beginning to find your way or have walked faithfully beside Him for decades—I’d encourage you to seek out fellow believers. Find a solid church home, get involved in a Bible study or a small group, pray with friends, the opportunities are endless. But whatever it looks like, be sure to connect. After all, as God Himself said, “It is not good for [people] to be alone.”