Summary: Without others around us to encourage us, teach us, and to interact with us how would we ever know to be better than we are? Why would we want to improve and be a better person? However, other people don’t always improve us.
Back to the Basics
Some of the best times I have had in my life have been when I was involved with playing fast pitch softball. It was a sport that I absolutely loved. To look at me now you would never think any sort of sport was part of my life, but it was for about 15 years. I played until I was a youth minister and I had to make a choice of what was more important.
Now way could I play softball they way I did and be a youth minister because softball involved so much of my life. When I became a youth minister I had to make the choice between competitive softball or ministry, and of course I chose ministry.
But how come softball became so important to me. Was it because I liked the act of throwing the ball or I liked hitting home runs? Was it because running around the bases was fun or fielding a fly ball? And honestly I can say no to all of these things.
I don’t know how many times I went and threw the ball up against a block or concrete wall when I was learning to pitch. Or how many times I threw the ball up in the air and chased it down in catching fly balls. Or even going to the ballpark and throwing the ball up and hitting it with the bat to see how many I could hit out of the park.
When you think about it, it’s not really the acts of playing softball that I liked, but it was being with other people and having others to play the game with and against. It’s being together with a bunch of people with common skills, common purpose, and common goals.
On top of that how would I truly be able to improve my playing skills, be encouraged by others to play better, or be able to pass my skills on to others if I didn’t have others to play the game with?
Isn’t this true to most, if not all of us? That we need others to be a better person and we need others that we can pass our experience on to. And not with just sports, but with life. I would have never became the pitcher I was in fast pitch softball without the teaching I received from Denny Thornton and it turned out that I ended up being better than him.
But again this is true in life. Without others around us to encourage us, teach us, and to interact with us how would we ever know to be better than we are? Why would we want to improve and be a better person? However, other people don’t always improve us, because some people are bad influences.
For instance if you lived in the inner city of Chicago and were involved with a gang then you are probably not going to improve as a person, but you will probably be a good criminal. It’s generally the people you hang around with who have the most influence on your life and hopefully that influence from others around us will make us a better person rather than worse.
This is way Christian fellowship is so important and a basic of Christianity. Because without fellowship with other Christians how could we grow or spur others on to Christian growth? How could we or why would we even want to do good works for other people? And if we didn't have Christian fellowship why would anyone else want to become a follower of Christ?
In the second chapter of Acts in verse 42-47 again let’s see what these new Christians did.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
You see they devoted themselves not only to the apostles teaching, to the Lord’s Supper, to prayer, but also to fellowship. And you continue in these verses and you see elements of their fellowship.
Being together — it’s pretty hard to have fellowship with being together.
They had everything in common — generally people don’t stay together unless they have commonality and of course their commonality was in Jesus Christ.