A basil plant sat on a small wooden table on the front porch. When cared for, the emerald green leaves were fresh and fragrant. Today, they drooped over, dry, almost lifeless. How often I’d experienced this sense of drought after a long day under the blistering East Texas sun and humidity. Parched throat and sweaty clothing attached like glue sent visions of ice water running through my head. The plant yearned for attention.
That plant symbolizes you and me without God—believers unplugged from our power source. “For us, there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:6 NIV).
What Bible Verses Talk about Fellowship?
We are well-watered and refreshed in the Holy Spirit through God’s love and word, relationships, and fellowship with other children of God. However, when we don’t spend time in the word and talking to God, isolation from like-minded tends to follow. It is then that our spirit becomes dry, limp, and weary. God ordained relationship with Him, the church, and marriage and family.
“For where two or three are gatheredin my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20 NIV). Listen, with hearing ears, to that promise: When we gather in His name, He is with us. Hallelujah!
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). God saw that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. He provided him with a helpmate.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25). We can build one another up by meeting together.
Great Fellowships in the Bible
Let’s reflect on the tremendous blessing of friends who have crossed our paths. Enriched and embraced by their selfless love triggered like-minded responses from us. Here are some biblical examples of friends:
1. David and Johnathan in 1 Samuel 18. Johnathan was the son of King Saul but he seemed to love David as an older brother. His soul bounded to David’s (1 Samuel 18:1). When Jonathan was slain in battle, David composed a song and instructed the children of Israel to learn it. Johnathan helped David escape from King Saul’s murderous intentions. The two young men needed one another.
2. Moses and Aaron in Exodus 4. These men were also brothers, and Aaron was Moses’ mouthpiece. During the Battle of Rephidim, Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on when Moses grew weary. Then they positioned themselves on either side of him and held his hands up until the sun went down (Exodus 17:12-13). Moses needed Aaron and Hur. They needed his leadership.
3. Elijah and Elisha in 1 Kings 19. Elijah thought he alone served the one true God when conversing with the LORD at the cave. God instructed him to anoint a successor, then assured Elisha that He had seven thousand in Israel who were not Baal worshippers. We are never alone. Elisha of Shaphat labored, plowing a field before the mighty prophet swept into his life. Though he wanted to say goodbye to mama and daddy, Elijah’s persistence compelled him to follow (1 Kings 19:14-21). Elisha requested a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. The relationship seemed to transform from mentor/successor to a father/son, symbolizing their Israelite era. According to Deuteronomy 21:15-17, the first-born son received a double portion of the father’s possessions. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied, “yet if you see when I am taken from you, it will be yours…otherwise not.” Guess who witnessed the prophet’s fiery ascension to heaven. Yes, Elisha, and he scooped up Elijah’s fallen cloak. Now he possessed the same power (2 Kings 2:13-15). Elijah thought he was alone. Elisha sought what the prophet had. They, too, needed one another.
4. Naomi and Ruth in the Book of Ruth. I wonder if Naomi, in her bitter grief, realized the true treasure of Ruth’s loyalty and love. Women were vulnerable and without support unless they were married or a male relative took financial responsibility. We may sympathize with her sorrow and anger. Emotions will get the best of us under pressure, yet we can’t stay there. “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). Ruth’s gentle, steadfast love calmed her mother-in-law. Naomi’s knowledge and bloodline proved advantageous to her young daughter-in-law in finding a husband and building a new life. An older and younger woman needed each other. How marvelous are His ways!
Can you list other Bible friendships? What characteristics do you identify with in these pacts?
How Can We Fellowship Safely?
Multi-generational gatherings provide opportunities to mix with different age groups and let the conversation flow. A dear friend, and her family, host a monthly first Saturday breakfast for anyone who wants to attend. The scent of waffles with all the fixings directs you to the bright kitchen and a center island covered with sausage and juices. Amazing conversation and laughter greet you at the door. The scent of aromatic coffee entices us to a light and welcoming kitchen. Nearby, the din of children sprinting about the lush yard with newfound playmates prompts automatic smiles.
Sadly, the Covid pandemic invaded our world in 2020 and changed how we interact with family and friends. None of us are left unmarred. Either direct or indirectly, death and illness ravaged those we loved. Vaccinations have supplied freedom and relief, but the disease still exists. So, how do we deepen our friendships and encourage one another? How do we gain comfort, keep our friendships fresh, and stay safe?
1. We can still check in with each other via phone calls. Stand the required distance apart in the yard or parked vehicles. Ask questions and be intentional in listening. Is my friend single? Aged Couple? Widowed? A young mother and wife with small children? Does she go for days without a phone call? Is she feeling okay? Taking time to listen could be a lifesaver.
2. We can offer to pick up something the next time we’re out. Write a personal note to drop in the bag. Everyone wants to feel loved and wanted. Drive through a burger joint or pick up a grocery item. Who doesn’t like receiving an encouraging card or letter?
3. How about a small surprise gift just because? I confess that visions of $5 Amazon gift cards popped into my mind. Perhaps a coffee gift card
4. We can don our masks and gather at a park or lakeside for a “bring your own lunch” picnic. One person offers to bring drinks and another dessert.
Zoom, Duo, FaceTime, and messenger supply virtual methods to stay in touch. Respect one another’s boundaries and give grace. The foundation of true friendship is love. Love is patient, kind, and not self-seeking but considers others above self. It prompts us to protect, not dishonor, and inspire hope.
Our church sings a popular tune entitled “I am a Friend of God” by Israel Houghton. Visions of blessings that I reap come to mind during the worship. But how does He benefit? Friendship is a two-way street. The LORD benefits when I love others as He loves me. Therefore, I’m pressed to care about my friends as God does.
The Creator did not design us to live in this world alone. We need Him and each other. Stay plugged into the living water and our gifts of loving fellowship the Lord provided on earth.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/ajijchan
Sharon Simms hails from East Texas and loves the Lord, family (which includes friends), and milk chocolate. She enjoys interacting with people and is driven to share how Jesus changed her life. Her first Upper Room pictorial devotion is scheduled for release on July 28, 2022. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and relates life lessons with God’s teachings daily via Bible videos on Instagram, (Sharondsimms), Facebook, and YouTube.
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