11 Finally, brothers and sisters, good-bye. Put things in order, respond to my encouragement, be in harmony with each other, and live in peace—and the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Say hello to each other with a holy kiss. All of God’s people say hello to you.
13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Common English Bible).
As I write, it is Friday afternoon and I sit and watch the Astros Victory Parade. I am enjoying the parade but it is not my primary thoughts. My thoughts are really with a group of people who worked really hard, the people of God who call Sweeny home. These are the members of First United Methodist Church.
Thursday we held our annual Chicken Spaghetti Dinner and Bazaar. Some of these folks have been working on the event for weeks. Others were working on the dinner all of this week. Others were only able to help on Thursday. The members of our church came forward and gave of themselves, gave up one day, two days, three days, three weeks, or even more.
Over the years I have been in ministry, I have seen the phenomenon over and over again. People work hard. They give of their time and their talents. These are people who support their brothers and sisters. These are people who give of themselves in order to make a difference for their church and for God.
These events are always interesting to me. People have their jobs they do every year. They walk in the door and go straight to the job some of them have done for 20 or 30 years. There isn’t much discussion. They know their jobs and they do them.
On the other hand, it is also an opportunity for real fellowship between people who truly care about each other. I saw everything from intense (not bad, intense) conversations on any variety of topics. I saw a lot of laughter. There were many handshakes and probably even more hugs. The day embodied the concept of “love your neighbor.” We are also blessed that it doesn’t stop at the doors of the church.
Paul, in our lesson today and other places in his letters, demonstrates, again and again, the idea of friendship and fellowship in the Christian community and the life of believers together.
For me, this event and events like it, demonstrate the importance of being part of the Body of Believers. Over the years, I have heard people say, “I don’t need the church, I can worship God anywhere. ” No, you can’t. But, I’ll save that for another time. Worship, though it is the most important thing we do, it is not the church’s only function. Fellowship and support are also vital roles of the church. When the difficult times in life come, and they do come for all of us, I don’t know where I would be without the church. I also don’t know how those who are not part of the Church do it. How do you make it through the difficult times in life when not a real part of a body of believers?
These people bless my life in far more ways than I can count. They bless me. They bless my family. They bring me joy. I thank God for them.
That is what I am grateful for today. What about you? What are you grateful for today? Write it down in your journal and then share it with someone who needs to see the blessings of God at work.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.