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Lovely People In The Body

Getting the opportunity to visit around different congregations of the Body of Christ is a joy. Occasionally I get a chance to go somewhere and meet Kingdom people and it is a thrill. Just last night I was asked to speak at the Pine Street congregation in Vivian, La. They have been without a preacher for a while and sometimes have a difficult time filling the Sunday night spot. I have actually spoken there several times. But, last night just seemed a little different. I watched the audience as I shared the lesson and was comforted and encouraged by the looks on their faces. After the assembly, we stood around and talked a bit, and it was lovely.

A week or so ago I took the funds we had collected to South Louisiana for the relief of some of our brothers and sisters who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. There again I was challenged by meeting some of God’s family there. It was simply wonderful. It was such a wonderful experience for me to drive up, meet someone I had never met before and have an instant bond. God’s people are great.

I know there are some “stinkers” in the Body, but by and large, most are good people who want to do the work of God while they live here on this earth. Fellowship is a tremendous opportunity and privilege. I fear that we many times take it all too casually. There is something about being in the company of people who love Him and have given their lives over to Him. There is a sweetness and a comforting presence.

God calls us into fellowship. Did you know that the word fellowship comes from the same word for communion? And partnership? We are partners together with God and with one another. That’s awesome! That fellowship extends into the Wal-Mart when you run into someone in there. It can be in the grocery store or the town parade. It is not confined to the assembly. It happens in the home and sometimes at work. Fellowship is everywhere. God called us to be partners together, wherever we are.

As I stood among this group of people, talking and visiting, it just felt, well, lovely. It was sweet and it was as though I could smell the “odor of a sweet smell” ascending toward God. I have felt that thousands of times at North as I stood among you. But, I know you so well that you would expect that. But it taught me, or maybe reminded me, that the fellowship we have together extends throughout all the world. Because of the work of Christ, we are all kin, all partners, all sharing in communion with God and with one another. Every group has their stinkers, and sometimes they make it difficult for others to enjoy being together, but all the flocks of sheep had goats too. But, as you sit or stand, talking and sharing, it is a whole lot easier to understand what God feels when He receives the same. He loves us so and dearly wants us to love one another. To Him, His people are lovely… stinkers and all.

The next time you find yourself standing around with brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever they are, pause a moment and smell the sweetness. Step back a second or two and watch the faces and listen to the love. Your heart will be blessed. And once you’ve done that, try to picture the face of God and see what it is doing for Him.