One candle can light a thousand and is in no way diminished ─ but actually resurrects in a thousand ways.
─ Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way
Reflection Scripture: Share
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:16 ESV
Day 1: The Heart of Fellowship
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Acts 2:42 ESV
From my seat in the choir I had the perfect vantage point to watch a young family come and kneel at the altar. In the church where I worship, communion is open to everyone no matter what denomination or age. The little boy snuggled in between his mom and dad. His little hands cupped and stretched out for the receiving of bread.
I watched him smile at the one serving as she whispered, Jesus loves you.
Tears filled my eyes as he chewed the bread and drank from the small cup.
It dawned on me how awesome it is to fellowship with other believers in the breaking of bread and wine.
Father, Son, and Spirit are the perfect community. The thought of this perfect fellowship extending an invitation for all to join is overwhelming and beautiful.
A few years later, this sweet little boy whispered to his mom sitting in front of me, Is there communion this Sunday?
I ask the same question every Sunday as I look at others around me worshipping. Because I’m hungry for fellowship. It is my heart’s desire to say Yes to the invitation given by the Perfect Community. This is what I’m created to do… to join in the fellowship of Father, Son and Spirit.
The call to fellowship took me by surprise in the early months of walking with Him.
At the time He captured my heart, I was already attending a church with my very young children. I hadn’t grown up going to church, but I took my children because I wanted them to have the experience of being comfortable in church. (Yes, I now know this is a terrible reason to go.)
I am very introverted and used to have a very BIG personal space. I was not a hugger. So, when I walked into the crowded hallway at church one Sunday morning and the thought came to mind to hug the elderly women around me, I audibly gasped. I thought: Why would I want to do that! I don’t hug.
The Holy Spirit was drawing me into fellowship with His church. I was taken aback by the thought of it. Now some twenty years later, I hug readily, tell others I love them (meaning it), and have built relationships with people so different from me, it’s shocking to me.
Being a member of His church and sharing fellowship has brought encouragement, challenges, joy, and grief. I’ve become part of a very diverse community, which has been essential to my faith journey.
share verb – 1: to divide and distribute in shares: apportion… 2 a: to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others b: to have in common… 3: to grant or give a share in — often used with with… 4: to tell (as thoughts, feelings, or experiences) to others — often used with with
─Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.)
When we become Believers, we find ourselves in the same boat with others. No longer part of the world, we are members of His Body, His Kingdom, His Church.
Joining ourselves to Jesus separates us from the world we lived in before. We become temporary travelers. Sojourners just passing through. This world is no longer our home, it is enemy territory.
Read 2Timothy 3:12-13
What happens to those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus?
What happens to evil men and imposters in the world?
What does this tell you about the difference between those following Christ and those doing things the world’s way? How do you think they will perceive one another?
We become an oddity to the world – shunned and perhaps persecuted. Choosing Jesus often disconnects us from those with whom we previously had close relationships.
Former friends may not understand our new fascination with the Bible, prayer, and going to church. Activities we previously enjoyed with them may not appeal to us anymore, and they won’t understand why. Our unbelieving friends may feel judged, lash out in anger, or begin to back off from the relationship. A disconnect happens. Sometimes we don’t understand it ourselves.
Following Jesus can be lonely.
Can you think of a time in your walk with Him when you experienced loneliness? persecution? rejection? What was it like to feel that way?
Read Hebrews 13:14-17
Here we read the week’s Reflection Scripture in context. Written to Jewish-Christian converts, it gives instruction to the church.
What does the writer remind us we are seeking, which we do not have here?
In follow up to the realization of our temporary position in the world, what are we called to do?
Circle or highlight the word share in this passage in your Bible.
The Greek translated share is koinonia. The heart of the meaning of the Greek is fellowship, the sharing of an association, communion, or joint participation (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). Therefore, at the heart of sharing is fellowship. Insert the word fellowship in in the blank below.
Do not neglect to do good and _________________, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Can sharing or fellowship feel like a sacrifice to you? Explain.
Yes, sometimes it feels like a sacrifice to become a part of a community where we don’t have much in common. But there is purpose in sharing fellowship, it connects us more deeply to Him. It is an act of faith we are called to exercise.
In the world but not of the world, sharing life with the church by God’s grace makes our journey through hostile territory not only bearable, but joy-full! Once we begin to respect others out of respect for God, we come to a place where we can freely share with others: our lives, our stories, our gifts, and our belongings.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
What do you have a hard time sharing? Why?
Think of a time when someone shared something with you? How did it make you feel?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God to open your heart to the importance of sharing your life with other Believers: your faith stories, your gifts, your belongings, your time, your energy.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Acts 2:46-47 ESV
Work Out Your Faith
Have you noticed someone in your church, whether staff or volunteer, who is sharing their gifts to build up the body of Christ? Maybe the janitor who sweeps the floor after every church function, or the member who quietly makes coffee when the pot is running low.
Send them a card this week to let them know you’ve noticed. Share your gratitude for the gifts they share.
Reflection Scripture: Journal
Journaling is one way to reflect on Scripture. This week practice guided journaling. A journal page is included. Follow the instructions and record the answer to the questions on the page.
Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, sentence structure, or bad handwriting… just write. Listen to your heart. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Record what you hear.