So many things are superficial in life. Think about how casually we use the terms, “I love that! It’s the best thing ever!” when we’re talking about something as meaningless as a new candy bar or shampoo.
On the flip side, we’re quick to say, “I absolutely hate that!” without even thinking about what true hatred really means and how destructive it is.
Love and hate are strong words, yet they’ve lost much of their meaning because we toss them around so casually. Other things in life are losing meaning, too, and it’s happening so gradually they we often don’t realize it’s happening or the grave effect it’s having on our faith.
Beware of a Disposable Attitude
Society is trending toward the temporary. Everything is disposable, from the plastic bottles that hold our drinking water to our electronics that we upgrade to the latest and greatest every year. The phone that was the “Absolute best thing ever!” 12 months ago is tossed in a drawer as we wait in line for three hours for the new model.
Sadly, the same thing is happening to personal relationships. Think about how casually some couples toss each other out when things get rough or a more attractive partner comes along. They don’t try to work things out when a divorce is just a lawyer, some paperwork and a checkbook away.
A Threat to Christian Fellowship
We have to be very careful or Christian fellowship will become superficial, too. Instead of something that strengthens our bonds to our faith, it will turn into something that’s fine when it’s convenient, but that we turn off when other, more attractive priorities lure us away.
Church shouldn’t just be a quick hour of worship where we count down the minutes until we can get to lunch and enjoy the final throes of the weekend. It should be more than quick hellos to others as we find our seats and a fast spate of chit-chat, along with the obligatory hug with the pastor, as we make our way out the door.
Sure, that’s all fellowship in the sense of interacting with others, but it’s more like “fellowship theater.” We’re playing the role that’s expected of us, and we can’t wait until it’s over. We’re not truly living what fellowship is really all about.
The Example Set by Jesus
Think about Jesus and His Disciples. He called them to leave everything behind when they chose to join Him, as we’re told in the Bible:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. —Matthew 16:24
They didn’t respond, “Yes, we’ll follow you, but we can’t be gone longer than a week because we’ve got a lot going on,” or “Well, if we help you out, we want to stick to friendly places. We’re not really down with going to towns where the people might be hostile.”
Is the fellowship at your church superficial? It’s great to have an active congregation holding things like potlucks, picnics and group activities, but is there a deeper purpose behind all the fun? Are the members of your church truly working together to act as the hands and feet of Christ in fellowship activities that go beyond what’s convenient and enjoyable?
Like Jesus and His Disciples, you need to step out of your comfort zone to make the fellowship deep and meaningful. Jesus wants us to serve the least of these, even though that’s not always what we want to do. We can’t pick and choose where and how to be of service and to make our walk of faith on the easiest path. Sometimes God nudges us in a certain direction that might be fraught with difficulties because it’s where we’re needed to be most.
Walking in the Light
Think about this Bible verse, which has some important words about fellowship:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. —1 John 1:7
It shows just how important true fellowship is pleasing to God. We need to walk in the light rather than paying lip service to it. If we stay in that light, God fulfills the promise that He made through Jesus to take our sin away. Better yet, we go beyond the superficial to have something truly meaningful in our lives.