Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

January 23, 2005


Life is designed with the joy of fellowship in mind


          Fellowship is important. I mean, really important if one is to get the most out of life. People are simply not designed to live alone.

          There is a line in a popular song that says it all: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” I can say Amen to that.

          Actually all people need people. There simply is no one who does not need fellowship. So there are but two kinds of people: people who realize they need people and people who refuse to admit they need people.

          Here are some words that prove my point, words that conjure up good feelings for most of us: comradeship, companions, camaraderie, friendship, and partnership.

          In contrast, consider how these words create a feeling of sadness:

alone, confined, solitary, friendless, introverted, unsociable, aloof, cold, and hostile.

          The first set of words suggests a life of joy and meaning. The last set pictures a life that none of us would want to live. That is because we are made for fellowship. Our Maker made us so that fulfillment comes through fellowship with likeminded persons.

          I have done many things alone. I have gone many places by myself. But I have come to the place in life that my most treasured memories are those times I shared life with my wife, my family, or my friends. I know that alone my life is empty. I need and long to share life with my family and my friends.

          That is what the church is all about – a gathering of friends who care about each other. Church is not meant to be a place where people are mean and ugly to others. That ruins it. Church is meant to be a fellowship where people, despite their weaknesses, may love and be loved.

          I went deer hunting the other day. I went with my son Steve and some friends. It was fun. None of us got a shot at a buck but we enjoyed the time together. What made a difference was the fellowship.

          Last weekend I attended a retreat for men. There were 160 men present. Many of them are my friends. Three of my sons went with me. We were blessed by the experience of being together and sharing worship and conversation with other men. The fellowship made the difference.

          That fellowship is so important is not all that surprising when you consider that we were made by a “fellowship.” In the Book of Genesis, God says, “Let us make man in our image.” Our image – what does that mean? It means what the church calls the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit created us. God is One, but He is three in one, thus the word “our.”

          When I say that I miss the church I once served as a pastor, I do not mean the building. I mean I miss the people. I miss the fellowship that I enjoyed with people who were family to me, for we were brothers and sisters in the church. What makes the difference, the profound difference, is the fellowship. That is why the church is called the fellowship of believers.

          Our fellowship is never perfect because we are all flawed. Yet when we are able to forgive others, and accept forgiveness, we experience life at its best.

          Some people find meaningful fellowship is a bar or tavern. There they find acceptance. There people care for them. That caring makes a difference.

          The church, of course, offers an even better fellowship – or at least it should – for it is a fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It promises even more – a fellowship that extends out into eternity, lasting forever.

          No wonder Christians sing – “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms.” Since we are made for fellowship with each other, and with God, it would be a shame to miss it. + + + +