Earlier this week, I shared about the Greek word “spoudazo,” used in the New Testament to describe purposeful, wholehearted effort. While the verb refers to extraordinary effort toward a task, only certain actions even deserve such a high level of attention and energy. I shared previously about how helping people in need is one responsibility that is indeed worthy of “spoudazo” type of effort. Today, I’d like to share about another activity that deserves our full attention: Christian fellowship.
Paul emphasized the importance of Christian fellowship in the book of 1 Thessalonians, a letter he wrote to the church at Thessalonica. Paul had originally established the church on one of his missionary journeys but had been away from the people there for some time. Paul wrote, “We, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire” (2:17). The word translated as “endeavored” in that verse is the Greek word “spoudazo.” From that, we can interpret that Paul had a very deep longing to see the Thessalonian church members again. It was not a casual feeling of hoping to catch up with the people sometime soon; Paul desired with every fiber of his being to see the church members in person.
Why did Paul feel that strongly about wanting to see his fellow believers? He obviously understood the importance and value of Christian fellowship. We are not meant to serve God in isolation; we need each other! Hebrews 10:24-25 exhorts, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.” Christian fellowship is one of the best ways to find encouragement, love, joy, and inspiration. We draw strength from one another!
So be careful never to isolate yourself; make it a priority to frequently spend time with other believers. Be sure to go to church this weekend so you can encourage others and be encouraged by them. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).