二○一八年四月二十八日／四月二十九日 Click here for English version
I Don’t Need Fellowship?
Rev Gordon Siu
In the past months, we have often referred to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Life Together. The author says, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.” We need both solitude and fellowship to respond to God’s calling. Each of us faces God’s call and is accountable to Him on our own accord. Nevertheless, “I” am called to God as part of the Christian community. “I” join the divine family along with other believers, and we testify to the Lord together. Dietrich Bonhoeffer stresses that any Christian who “seeks solitude without fellowship” risks becoming self-centered and his spiritual journey plagued with abysses and hazards. On the other hand, if any Christian wants fellowship without solitude – without reflections on his life, meditation on how to live according to God’s will, prayer and intercession – his life will gradually become shallow and lose dynamism.
One reason why we are reluctant to commit to fellowship life is “I don’t want others to meddle in my private matters.” For many years, “I” have found it hard to face that something in my life, even to talk about it. What will people think if they know about it? So I sweep myself and others under the carpet. However, as soon as this believer turns to God in solitude, he will find the community of blessings that God has prepared for him. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). This community has experienced the Lord’s washing of their feet. It is also called to wash each other’s feet. It is a place of healing and where life gets built up.
Perhaps someone will say, “I don’t need fellowship. I don’t have any personal problems. Nor do I think fellowship can help me in any way.” But when we come to God alone, we will find that if I am to live in accordance with His Word, I must join a fellowship. This is because the Christian community is the only place where we can love, sympathize with and help one another as commanded by God. I need fellowship not necessarily because I lack anything, but to respond to the Lord’s call and command for me. This is also why many brothers and sisters who experience relationship issues (or training) in fellowship life are still happy to stay on. The fact is, I need them to shape my life and character, and to learn to obey God and care for each other even in difficulties. In all the relationships, the most fundamental is still my own relationship with God. It is because of Him that I can still continue my fellowship life and can have fellowship in the Lord under all circumstances.
It has always been a pleasure to see groups of brothers and sisters gathering together regularly at certain locations after worship to go for breakfast or lunch together. I see lives connected. They not only have fellowship in the Spirit, but also enjoy the company of each other in their daily life. How great it is! Fellowship is a means of God’s grace for us but we might have taken it for granted as time goes by. Let us cherish fellowship, for there lies the predestined blessings of God.