"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 13:14
Tomorrow is our first official full day of fall here. I am not a fan of fall, because to me it always signals the fact that winter is on it's way. And I am really not a fan of winter. But as we change seasons, I always spend a little time reflecting over last year at this time, and even back farther. For us, its been over two years since we gathered on a weekly basis with our closest friends for fellowship, prayer, and Bible study. Two years! So much has changed in that amount of time, it's crazy. When we were opening up our home week after week, we really felt like we were doing what God wanted us to. We enjoyed every week, and never seemed to mind all the work involved with hosting either. Yet, when we stopped meeting, we also enjoyed the time of rest we suddenly found ourselves with. We didn't have to clean the house every week, and it was nice to be in a time of rest.
But here we are, two years and many, many changes later, and a stirring is happening. Andy and I both have felt lately, an urge to start hosting some kind of fellowships in our home again. I've definitely given it a lot of thought, wondering if it was supposed to be a Bible study type of get- together, or simply fellowship. Every time I think of devoting a particular day of the week to a small group study, I get a sense of foreboding, that this is not what God is urging us to do. So instead, we're starting off with a simple event we're calling Family Dinner Friday. I just put out a completely random invitation to everyone I am friends with on Facebook, and we'll see who comes to dinner on Friday. That simple.
See, the thing is, and I've noticed it myself lately, is that we are busy creatures, us humans. And if we're not attentive, we can wrap ourselves up in these little cocoons and hoard our off-days all to ourselves. We do it with good intentions, of course. We say that we really want to spend time at home with our families, and we do, but every week? Every chance we have a day where we're not busy? While time at home alone with family is certainly never totally a bad thing, I don't think that God brought us to this house for us to hoard it all to ourselves. He wants us to invite people in, and allow His Spirit to minister to them while they spend time with us, visiting and eating and enjoying each other's company.
I love it in the verse up above where it says "the fellowship of the Spirit be with you all". I love the fellowship of the Spirit. That's the atmosphere that gets created when two or more are gathered. It's the "thing" that keeps people visiting long past the time they said they were going to. It's the "thing" that you sense when you finally do leave, and you look at each other and mention how you just had the most wonderful time visiting with those people. The fellowship of the Spirit is a wonderful thing, and it's really vital to us as human beings. Even better, though, it can be a wonderful tool for saving the lost. Because the Spirit is no respecter of persons. Whether our guests are saved or unsaved, they experience the same things in our home, and when they leave, those who are unsaved really wonder what that was. And often times, they come back for more. They come back again and again, trying to figure out what it is that makes visiting with certain people so different, only to discover that it is Jesus that makes the difference.
Fellowship. It's so important, that Paul lumps it with the grace of Jesus Christ and the love of God. We can't function without the love of God, and without the grace of Jesus Christ we perish. Without the fellowship of the Spirit, our soul can wither. We need that fellowship to keep us going. We need that fellowship to bring life to our souls and give us something to feed off of. So we are going to fellowship. We are going to obey and do what God lays on our hearts, and we'll have a great time doing it. The sacrifice of our alone time will most definitely be worth it, as we share the love of God with those we love.