The Kingdom of God serves as a large tree under which its members can come to find shelter among its long branches. In this sanctuary, God’s grace is implanted and increased, then energized for ministry efforts. Fellowship within the community of God highly contributes to making this refuge a true shelter from the rest of the world.
Fellowship provides SAFETY. Community helps to shield us from the ravages of the storms in our lives. We can share our difficulties with others who will be there to offer us hope and prayer. Security forms. Rather than face criticism or join in with acceptable practices outside the shelter, here we find our choice to live a life set apart for God and from the world defended. As we roost in the shade of godly protection with others of like mind, we enjoy a sense of mutual preservation.
Fellowship gives REST. Just as the birds perch in the protective environment of a great tree’s branches, so the body of Christ lodges in the shelter of fellowship. The companionship found here provides a base for support. We take up our residence and make our nests within the restful environment of our faith communities. Once our footing feels sure, we experience the readiness and confidence we need to spread our wings and soar. Then, we show others the way to the shelter.
Fellowship promotes VITALITY. Faith grows exceedingly well amid such a flourishing community. Those dwelling here live a blessed life together. Love and grace grow and flow and overflow, giving evidence of the abundant life that exists in the shelter. In this way, the body of Christ in fellowship demonstrates the gospel to the rest of the world. By nature, we are a people drawn to join a thriving, not dwindling, group. As community results in greater visibility for the Kingdom of God, others begin to desire this blessed life for themselves.
It is like a tiny mustard seed planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds come and find shelter among its branches. Luke 13:19
As members of God’s Kingdom, our way of life together testifies to the work of grace in our lives and gives evidence to the world of our faith in practice. What have you done to help others find fellowship a shelter for safety, rest and vitality in your faith community? If led, please share.