“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 once paraphrased it as: “two fellows in the same ship.”
Years ago I met with a man on the threshold of coming to faith. He had many, many problems. I said to him, “There is a word you’re going to learn soon: ‘fellowship.’ It means ‘two fellows in the same ship.’
I want you to know that I am in the ship with you, Charlie!”
Taking a long drag on his cigarette, with tears in his eyes Charlie blew smoke in my face and said, “Well row, *bleep* it!”
Charlie was saying to me 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 with him?
I often said to others what I said to Charlie, but Charlie added to my understanding of this word. After Charlie, when I said these words I found myself asking, “What would it look like if I got in this person’s ship with them and rowed?”
When Jesus got in Peter’s little ship He surely 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 are bringing Christ with you into their ship.
Dick Woodward, 22 January 2013