As a church service came to a close, the pastor invited attenders to gather afterward for a time of “fellowship.” Ed wondered what that meant; he had only heard the word in the movie The Fellowship of the Ring. When Ed joined the others in the room the church had designated as its fellowship hall, it seemed that in Christian circles the word fellowship meant drinking coffee and eating doughnuts!
Yet today’s passage indicates that fellowship has a much deeper meaning than merely socializing. The key idea is sharing. Fellowship is among the four foundational priorities of the New Testament church to which the first Christians “devoted” themselves—besides sharing, the early church gave its attention to the Apostles’ teaching, the breaking of bread, and prayer.
We know what is meant when referring both to the Apostles’ teaching and to prayer is obvious. Breaking of bread probably refers to more than simply sharing a meal and likely means the observance of the Lord’s Supper. For the church these were not merely social gatherings but occasions where worship and instruction took place. The Corinthian church observed the Lord’s Supper by sharing a meal together (see 1 Cor. 11:33).
The nature of the church’s fellowship or sharing is further described in verse 45. New Testament believers shared their material goods with one another when anyone had a need. They also shared a communal experience by spending time together. This may not mean that they lived together but rather that they gathered on a regular basis. Later we will see how the early church also shared with one another through the exercise of spiritual gifts. They met together to build one another up in the faith.
Ken Heulitt, chief financial officer, will appreciate the prayers of the Moody family for Moody’s finances, as we focus on utilizing effectively and efficiently all the resources provided by our donors. Thank you for your faithfulness in praying and giving!