Tag Archives: fellowship

What You’ve Learned from a Teeny, Tiny Bug

You are seeing God’s wisdom during this pandemic. Like Elijah, we look for God in the great and bombastic moments of life but find him in the lesser things, the small, the tiny, the microscopic. Elijah heard the wisdom of God in the sound of a low whisper (1 Kings 19:9-18). Sometimes the biggest lessons come from the smallest things.

COVID-19, something so small that it is only seen with specialized equipment, has turned your life upside down.  Great American industries are struggling,  businesses have closed their doors, and hard-working people are suddenly without jobs. Fear reigns supreme as our leaders cast about for some cure. Most horribly, churches no longer assemble as a group and thus deprive their people of needed fellowship.

Here’s what I miss the most.


God’s people need fellowship. God commanded the Israelites to gather three times a year in Jerusalem for celebrations (Exodus 34:23). As they appeared together before the Lord, they were reminded of their common heritage and their common salvation given by the Lord. The Christians came from the background of these common feasts. The childhood story of Jesus remaining behind in Jerusalem after the Feast of the Passover (Luke 2:41-52) is one example. It was on Passover that Jesus was crucified and on Pentecost (another feast) when the church began (John 19:31; Acts 2:1). Afterward, the church would assemble together on the first day of the week. Although they enjoyed the company of one another “day by day” (Acts 2:46), the grouping on the Lord’s Day was special, for it brought everyone together at once for a common purpose.

Like you, I miss our time together. We talk on the phone, we teach Bible class via web conferencing, and we stream our services, but it is not the same. Let no one suggest that disassembled assemblies hold a torch to the real thing. They just don’t. They are an exceptional situation forced upon us by troubled times. But as for me, I miss the handshakes, hugs, pats on the back, and even the sweet kisses from some octogenarian ladies. I suspect you miss it all too. The Lord knew what he was doing when he gave us the assembly. I’ll be glad when we get it back.


Long-distance encouragement is hard. When I traveled to Russia many years ago, I was given a packet of cards. I was to open one card every day. It became the pinnacle of my day! Each card was from a different family. What a joy! But the greatest moment came when I returned home. Sometimes there would be a small crowd of people from the congregation who met me at the airport. I’ll never forget seeing them all as I passed through security. What encouragement!

I miss that today, and I really need it. People call, and that’s wonderful, but it is not the same as a face-to-face meeting. Paul enjoyed the encouragement he gained from his church family. Read Philippians 4:2, 3, and note those “…who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (emphasis mine – jbe). We desperately need side by side encouragement.


Churches of Christ sing with only the human voice. I’m not making a doctrinal point here, although you might see our article on instrumental music for those details. I am observing that I miss the beautiful voices blending together in praise to the Almighty. God’s people sing. The purpose is not to be entertained but to praise the Lord. At the same time, we are speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, teaching and admonishing one another (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).

I can listen to recorded music, and I can sing along with it. But it is not the same. I miss my brothers and sisters singing with me and to me.

This isolation will pass. When it does, we will again enjoy the fellowship, the encouragement, and the singing that means so much. What do you miss because of the pandemic? I suspect we can get along just fine without many things but not without the strength of one another. Pray for relief, serve others, and dream of our restoration.

Friends for Dinner

Jesus_and_the_disciples_at_the_Last_SupperA man once remarked that he might have to work with a person he did not like, but he did not have to break bread with him. He is right. We do not invite our enemies to dinner. We cherish friends and relish spending time with them over a meal. We invite our friends to dinner, not enemies.

Given that friends, not enemies, eat together, it is astonishing that Jesus invites us to eat with him. Think about it. Before coming to know Jesus, we were enemies. Paul writes that we were sinners (Romans 5:8) and that we were aliens to the Divine (Ephesians 2:12, 19). It was because of our sins that he endured shame, reproach, and death (Isaiah 53:3-5). There was no sense in which we ever showed ourselves friendly to Jesus until he extended his love to us.

Despite our horrendous behavior, despite our sin, Jesus invites us to share dinner.

Jesus offered a parable in which a great man gave a fine banquet. This man invited many to join him, but none came. He then turned to the outcasts and called them to the banquet table. They came and rejoiced in his invitation (Luke 14:16-24). Today, we are the outcasts. We are the invisible throngs too dirty to be invited to the Jesus’ great banquet. Yet, Jesus calls us to banquet with him.

A banquet, or as we say in Alabama, a get-together, is always populated by friends. Jesus makes us His friends and invites us to His table. Stop and let that sink in.  As Blues artist B.B. King would say, we are Riding with the King!

Jesus invites us to another table too. He calls us to a special memorial meal: The Lord’s Supper. Communion is multi-faceted. In it, we remember Jesus and we examine ourselves. The Lord’s Supper represents the ultimate earthly communion with Jesus and all of our brethren. In Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-23, Jesus joins his friends for the Passover meal. In all Israel, there was no more special time than this when one gathered with his closest friends and family to commemorate deliverance from Egypt. Now Jesus reclines with his dearest friends to partake of the Passover.

Using this momentous time, Jesus establishes a weekly meal which brethren enjoy together. But we do not commune only with friends. Jesus Himself joins us at the communal table. Here, the reality of his friendship is seen most clearly. Here, we see Jesus joining with the very people who caused his death. We see Jesus telling his former enemies to remember his death for them. We see former enemies joining in the most precious fellowship of all.

Our friendship with Jesus begins with Him. Left to our own schemes, we would never think to reach out to Jesus. And certainly, we bring nothing to Him worthy of his friendship. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19)!

The implications of friendship with Jesus are staggering. The Creator (John 1:3) has extended Himself to the created. The King has reached out to the commoner; the Lord has reached out to the lowly (1 Timothy 6:15). The Master embraces the slave (Matthew 10:24) and the teacher communes with the student (John 13:13). Even more, Jesus loves us so much that he shares his inheritance with us (Romans 8:17).

As you assemble around the Lord’s Table this week, consider the invitation to commune with Jesus. Think of what it means to be his friend and to heed his invitation to banquet with him.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.