“ For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.”Romans 1:11-12
The best gift I ever received was a Remington 870 20-gauge pump shotgun. It was my promotion from gun childhood to gun manhood and from the 4-10 single shot that had troubled me for so long.
It turns out that the gift was great, not because of the gift itself, but the memories that I eventually connected to it. Each year I looked forward to our September dove hunting trip—staying at a raggedly old hotel in some small west Texas town and spending time with my dad, brother, cousins, and grandfather (Big Daddy). I enjoyed the fellowship of being in the outdoors, the jesting, and laughing at each other. The joy of being around my family was something I cherished.
As I’ve reflected on these memories, I am reminded of the purpose of church. I have been asked the question many times: “Why is church so important?” In short, the answer is simply. It’s where we meet Jesus face-to-face. It’s where we learn of the incredible gift of salvation. It’s where God’s Word is taught. It’s where we are discipled to grow in our faith and to resemble in action the character of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And it’s where people of all races, colors, and backgrounds are brothers and sisters in Christ. What once was an individual life becomes interconnected by the commonality of God’s saving grace and gospel.
In other words, Christ designed the church for community. As a Christian, we were never meant to live life on our own. Though sadly many Christians reject this purpose in spite of the fact that the benefits of reliance on a church family are so valuable. With a church family, when we meet hard times, we are provided for (Acts 2; Rom. 12:13). When we need prayer, our church family prays fervently on our behalf (James 5:16). When we wander and need correction, truth in love is spoken (Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:2). When we fail to understand the mysteries of God, wisdom is shared (Prov. 27:17). And when we need fellowship…well, let’s just say we are always one potluck away from being joyfully connected to one another!
You see, for me, the greatest gift is the greatest gift because of the fellowship brought with it. Outside of salvation, the greatest gift Jesus Christ has given you and me is each other. This is why church is vital for me in my Christian walk and why it’s a priority for my family. Whether you are back meeting in-person or watching online, the key is having connection with the body of Christ. Is there anything Satan is using now to keep you from fellowshipping with your church family?