“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you… for your fellowship in the gospel…” (Philippians 1:3-5)
As Paul begins his letter to the Philippians, he uses a beautiful word when he writes: “your fellowship in the gospel.” The basic meaning of fellowship is partnership, but Sam Shoemaker paraphrased it as: “two fellows in the same ship.”
I once met with a man on the threshold of coming to faith. He had many, many problems. So, I said to him, “There is a word you’re going learn soon: fellowship. It means ‘two fellows in the same ship.’ I want you to know, Charlie, I am in the ship with you!” As he took a long drag on his cigarette, with tears in his eyes he said, “Well row, *bleep* it!”
Charlie was saying that he did not fully understand this new word, but he wanted to know what difference it was going to make. Was I just going to take up room and rock the boat, or was I going to grab an oar and row?
I have often said to others what I said to Charlie, but he added to my paraphrase of this word. After Charlie, when I said these words about fellowship I found myself asking, “What will it look like if I get in this person’s ship with them and row?”
When Jesus got in Peter’s little ship He made a difference. He filled Peter’s ship and his partner’s ship with fish. (Luke 5:1-11)
What difference does it make to others when you get in their ship with them? Think of the difference it could make because you bring Christ with you into their ship.
Dick Woodward, 22 January 2013