For Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s business partners. ~ Luke 5:9, 10
READING: Luke 5:1-11
The Greek word for the oft-used Christian word, “fellowship” is koinonia. Christians use the word to describe non-activity or non-purpose, e.g., “just fellowshipping.” In reality, koinonia means the exact opposite: business partnership, that is, purpose-driven friendship. Luke 5 tells us that James and John were in the fishing fellowship with Peter. JRR Tolkien picks up on this true meaning by titling his novel The Fellowship of the Ring. It tells the story of characters who were natural enemies but become the best of friends through their common purpose to destroy the Ring of Power.
Indeed, purpose and friendship come together quite perfectly. The blessing of friendship without purpose often degenerates into a curse that is off balance and unhealthy while purpose-oriented friendships strike a balance that keeps them proportionate and appropriate. Business partnerships without friendship become self-centered, abusive, and corrupt.Friendships without purpose become insular and idolatrous and eventually disappoint. Move together towards a common goal and invariably you will move closer to each other; only move closer to each other and collision and implosion of sorts is inevitable.
God has designed every human being for fellowship because the very essence of our triune God is a fellowship. What are the implications of this deep reality for the Christian church? Common are previously outward-looking churches that have devolved into naval-gazing cliques. Trendy are church plants that overemphasize mission to the neglect of community and intimate friendships. Do both well, and you will begin to taste of the raw emotion and satisfaction of a joy that is made complete.
God, You created me for love and for mission. May every friendship be guided by purpose and driven by love. Amen.
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