Summary: This message is to remind us to grow in our fellowship with one another.
We continue our 40 day focus on community. Last week we talked about our calling to reach out to others together. We are called to be mindful of opportunities to reach out with the love of Christ. That is a purpose God has for us together.
The purpose we are focusing on today is fellowship. Many times fellowship brings pictures of coffee hour, hanging out, or just casual gatherings. That is not wrong, but fellowship could be so much more. The picture of fellowship in the Scripture this morning shows a church that is together in everything. They worship together. They eat together. They serve together. This is what fellowship can be. Fellowship can mean that we are together in everything. We know we are meant to go through this life with one another. We are better together, but we need to continue to be committed to each other.
Again, remember that we are not supposed to be alone in this life. We are not meant to be independent and out on our own. Now, I have only been in jail once. Well, actually I was just there to visit a friend. But I have seen plenty of people in prison on tv or in movies to know what happens in prison when someone is being severally punished. They are sent to “the hole” right? Solitary confinement. They are kept away from the other prisoners and often have minimal contact even with the prison staff. This is not really a punishment that causes physical pain, but it is meant to cause emotional and psychological pain. They often show a person losing their connection to reality through this punishment. This is the most severe punishment, being taken out of fellowship, out of community.
That is evidence that we are not meant to live our lives alone. We need each other. We need to have fellowship with others in this life. So my plan for this morning was to give you opportunities to fellowship, opportunities to be together.
And there is something special about being together, being with a group and knowing you belong. As we get together and get to know each other that fellowship becomes closer. There are different levels of closeness we have with people. There are strangers, people you don’t know. There are people that you have heard their name before, but maybe never met. There are acquaintances that are people you have met a few times, you recognize them. Maybe next you have coworkers or those you have a professional relationship with. Then friends and finally family. I would think family are those you are closest to, but maybe not.
As I thought about these levels of closeness I was remind of this idea talked about in a book I have been reading called refrigerator rights. Do you know what refrigerator rights are? A person with refrigerator rights is someone who comes into your house, your home, and they know they can go to the refrigerator and grab something to drink or eat. Think about it. How many people do you let into your refrigerator? I am not sure if the refrigerator rights mean they don’t even have to ask because most people will at least ask, can I grab something to drink. However, most of the time we go into the fridge and get it for them. Only someone who belongs to your group will be allowed into your fridge.
I was remembering when I was at a guy’s house and he told me that if I wanted something to drink I can just grab it from the fridge and I just kind of sat there. I was not sure I really wanted to get into his fridge. Not because I expected bad things to be in there or anything, it just seemed to be kind of a big step to go into his fridge the first time I was at his house. But I got use to it and after the third time or so, now I know I can go there to get something to drink. Although it is a separate fridge for drinks and not their family fridge, so maybe that is on another level.
Take a few minutes to share in your group about refrigerator rights. Do you give those rights to anyone? Why or why not? And if you do who is it?
Another place to notice our closeness to others is looking at our home. It used to be important to have a front porch to get out and see everyone. Now we like our back patio. It is enclosed to give us privacy. I was also reading about how the automatic garage door opener changed things. We used to have to get out of the car to put up the door. Now you can stay in your car, pull into the garage and many garages are connected to our homes, so we can get in without having to talk with our neighbors.