In the previous articles, we looked at fellowship from the perspective of family and friendship. In this article we will examine the same subject from the other aspect presented in Scripture, the aspect of a business or partnership.
When our Lord was twelve years old He was recorded as saying, “I must be about My Father’s business (Luke 2:49)”. These are the only recorded words of the Lord Jesus from age 12 to 30 and from them we learn what was truly in His heart. He showed us how to be consecrated to the Father.
Even as He went about His daily business in Nazareth, carpentering, participating in the synagogue and serving His family, in His heart of hearts He was doing it all unto God. Truly His fellowship was with the Father.
A new kind of business
Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee calling people to leave their business in exchange for a new business, to live and work and even die for the cause of the gospel. Just as the sons of Zebedee woke every morning to catch fish with their father and mend their nets, so too, the disciples of Christ are to wake every morning ready to catch men, constantly mending the nets, i.e. the methods, we use to catch them, and teaching others to do the same.
A tiny society
Antarctic Edge is a documentary by Dena Seidel which traces the expedition of a team of researchers gathering information at the South Pole. The team consists of 22 scientists, 6 support personnel, 25 crew, plus officers and engineers, all of whom have left kin and country to gather valuable data which they believe will save the world from environmental disaster.
When living on their ice breaking ship for up to 30, 40 or 50 days at a time, the crew becomes its own tiny society, cut off from the world. Relying on no one else but themselves, this isolated band provides everything for themselves from medical to mechanical needs, from social to physical needs, as well as sharing food, recreation and training.
Helping one another
The church is a tiny isolated ship living amidst a dark cold world as well. We too live, eat, work and die together. We too are carrying vital data that will save the world. Our fellowship consists of helping one another conduct our Father’s business. Like an Antarctic research vessel, we have a purpose for being together. And we serve for a limited time. No one knows the day or hour when our work will cease.
Making a contribution
We read in Romans 15:26 that “it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who [were] in Jerusalem.” This is the essence of fellowship, “to make a certain contribution.” That contribution may be our resources. It may be our skills or abilities. It may be our time.
But above all, it is our contribution. The Captain of souls has factored our contribution into His Master plan and orchestrated a part for us to play in His Great Commission.
A fellowship of allegiance
In The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein Gandalf holds council to determine how they will destroy Sauron’s evil ring. Despite great danger to himself, Frodo volunteers to carry the ring. Immediately and unswervingly, nine others step forward and pledge allegiance to protect and support Frodo in his journey.
“You have my sword,” Aragorn promises. “You have my bow,” Legolas avows. “And you have my axe,” Gimli affirms. Samwise Gamgee, Pippin and Merry all pledge allegiance too, even though they had no sword, bow or axe to boast of. Willing to make a contribution, they tried to help in any way they could. They would do anything for Gandalf, and anything to destroy the ring.
The furtherance of the gospel
So it is with the church. Into the meager hands of sinners this privilege of preaching the gospel has been committed. The “ring” of sin, which tempts men to evil, needs to be eradicated from men’s lives one heart at a time.
To us has been granted the privilege of using our gifts and abilities to further the spread of the gospel. Let us fellowship with one another. Let us make a certain contribution to the Great Commission.