(James, Seth, and Nathaniel. I pray they grow to spread the
Good News together and/or wherever they may live)
Sometimes, it can be hard to understand the phenomenon of when a “ball is passed into someone else's court.” An illustration:
You: Hey, you want to hang out?
Other: Sure! Let me get back to you!
You (significant time later): Sooo...how does Wed or Thur look for you?
Other: __________ (no response)
Now, I know people (friends or family) get busy, lose their phones, forget, or possibly, and hopefully the most unlikely scenario, are purposefully avoiding you. But, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume this occurs multiple times. For clarification, I have been the perpetrator and unintentionally forgotten to respond after some time, but in being receiver and the person on the waiting end, I can definitely say that waiting for the ball to be passed back is the hardest part. So much so that it is tempting to assume the worst about people. So, here is what God is teaching me about assuming the best:
Acts 2: 42-47 The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
One of my first thoughts after reading this was that I don't think God is saying you have to be in fellowship with every believer within a 10 mile radius. Heck, the church I go to is over 1000 people! My direct family ALONE is 25! However, the reality is that building relationships does involve a metaphorical passing back and forth of the ball. This “passing” creates the opportunities for us to actually spend time with one another and enjoy the fellowship that we have.
Now, have I met people along the way, been in fellowship for a time, and gone our separate ways? Yep. Many times. I also recognize that I won't enjoy or have commonalities with everyone, and that's ok.
But, I also am confident that the Lord created relationships for a purpose, and not just to spend time together. One of the purposes is for us to encourage one another so that we can “Go and make disciples of ALL nations...." Matthew 28:19. Our fellowship together can be balanced and can equip us to carry out the purpose of our lives – to share the gospel and be representations of Christ to others.
I say all that to say this. Relationships are extremely helpful in our walk with the Lord. They help us be encouraged, see our flaws, and help move us towards being better at sharing and living the Gospel. So, when you have passed the ball into someone else’s court, be patient. Trust the Lord, search your heart, keep on encouraging them, and keep on trying to connect with others. We are not called to assume the worst, but to “have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3: 8.
Christmas is next week- talk about a great opportunity to be in fellowship! I encourage you to boldly, yet gently, open some conversations with family members who aren't believers or believers that you may have unresolved conflicts.