Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
May 31, 2020
We Need Each Other
The incessant demand to “reopen” our society is fueled by much more than the looming economic crisis. Yes, people want to get back to work; they need to make money to pay their bills. The “stay at home” order is crippling businesses; people are suffering and they are frightened by an uncertain future. But our restlessness cannot be resolved by money alone.
Greater even than our need of money, as great as it is, is our need of fellowship. We are not made to live alone. The need to belong is a universal human need. The familiar saying, “No man is an island,” is an eternal truth. Human beings are “hard-wired” to need other human beings. An old song expresses what we all know to be true: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” And the greater truth is that there are no people who do not need people.
Many years ago my wife gave me an anniversary gift that cost her one dollar. It was a small wooden plaque on which two rabbits were painted along with the words, “We Need Each Other.” That plaque meant the world to me because it symbolized a new day in our marriage. We had gone through a few troubled years in which we sometimes expressed our frustration with each other by pretending we did not need each other. With the Lord’s help, we overcame that dreadful attitude and found great joy in affirming our need of each other.
In these sunset years of our lives, and especially during the coronavirus pandemic, we have realized even more how much we need each other. I need Dean. She needs me. We need each other. And while the gift of life remains ours, we shall continually praise God for allowing us to meet needs in each other’s life.
During these days when church buildings have been closed, the human need for meaningful fellowship remains real. And there is no more beautiful name for the church than “a fellowship of believers.” The church at its best is a fellowship, a loving, redemptive fellowship. The authentic church is a gathering of friends who come together to love and encourage one another, worship and praise God together and enjoy the rich “fellowship of believers.”
Reopening our churches for worship, so we can sit on pews or chairs six feet apart, will not satisfy our deep need for fellowship. As great as our need for “public” worship may be, greater still is our need for the refreshing, life-giving fellowship that occurs when “two or three are gathered together” in the name of Jesus, and He is present “in the midst of them.” Like many of my friends, I long for the joy of meeting again with a few brothers and sisters to break bread together, study the scriptures, share our burdens and pray together.
Church should be a fellowship where people, despite their weaknesses, may love and be loved. It is not a fellowship of perfect people but a gathering of flawed people, each of whom is accepted despite their flaws. Though some people may find meaningful fellowship in a bar or tavern, a more transforming fellowship is available in a church. There, hopefully, there is always an atmosphere of forgiveness. There we are taught that because God has forgiven us in spite of our sins, we can forgive others in spite of their sins. To feel accepted despite our shortcomings is truly unspeakable joy.
The true church offers more than fellowship with people; it provides fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the company of believers, we learn that God promises us a fellowship that extends into eternity, a relationship that lasts forever. That is why you will find Christians singing joyfully, “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms.”
Yes, indeed, we are hard-wired with the need to belong, the need for fellowship with other human beings. And it was God who did the wiring. He made us with this universal need and He provided “the fellowship of believers” to meet this need. Since many of our brothers and sisters remain outside this rich fellowship, surely we need to say to our world what the Apostle John said to his own: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
Imagine what God could do with our testimony if we Christians were willing to say to all our neighbors who remain outside the fellowship of believers, “We Need Each Other.” + + +