September 1, 2011

The Fellowship of Believers

Any Christian who has experienced a trial, tragedy, difficulty, sickness or disappointment will be able to testify to the wonderful blessing of the fellowship of believers (II Corinthians 8:4). Care givers who work in hospitals or senior residences will also tell you of the stark contrast between the care and support provided by the Christian community to those who are members of a church compared to those who are not. The love for Christ by believers is clearly manifested in a sacrificial, self-denying love for one another (I John 3).
In our journey through ALS we have received much love, care, and support from the broader Christian school and church community. We are overwhelmed by phone calls, emails, cards, and visits. Yesterday, a former teacher colleague, and now a 25 year veteran in the ministry of the Word from Canton, Michigan, spent the whole day visiting me. We talked about old times, about how things are now, and he greatly encouraged me with Biblical counsel, helpful quotes from Godly writers, encouraging words and practical wisdom. He is a busy pastor, but he took the time out of his packed schedule to drive 4 hours (one way) to visit me. While we were visiting, another dear brother in the Lord was in my yard cutting the lawn, weeding, trimming and sweeping up so that I could rest and spend time with my visitor inside. My own pastor has visited and spoken with me on numerous occasions, as well as the deacons and fellow elders of our church. Friends have gone fishing with me, taken me for a boys day out for ribs and a “cold one”, and for a drive in the country checking out the progress of the wheat, corn, and soybean fields. Others talk and pray with me on the phone. Lonely? Neglected? Not a chance! What they are doing is they are unconsciously and unwarily (Matthew 25:31-46) heaping up treasures in heaven and building their “heavenly portfolios”. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Christians are not meant to be alone and live as individuals for themselves. They are part of a body of believers, each having different gifts and abilities. They are one with Christ, and one with another. Every body part is needed in order to be able to function well. (I Corinthians 12:15) That is why Christians need to belong to a church, and need to become active participants in the ministry of the church. 

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