04 May

Together for the Gospel

Taken from the intimation sheet: 4 May 2014

I was struck by the following quote in my reading this week from American Pastor Kent Hughes. Introducing the book of Philippians, he reflects on the difference between friendship and fellowship by introducing us to a story from the life of Broughton Knox:

‘When theologian Broughton Knox was serving as a young chaplain in the British navy on a ship preparing for D-day and the invasion of Normandy, he noted that the minds of all hands on board, regardless of rank, were focused on the invasion’s success. No one thought of his own interests, but only on how he could help his shipmates in their commonly shared task. He says, “I remember noting in my mind how I had never been happier.”

After the invasion and return to England, everyone noticed a difference in the atmosphere on ship. It was still friendly because it was a well-run ship. But several of the sailors, sensing the difference, asked the young chaplain why things had changed. Knox reflects,

“The answer was quite simple. During those months that preceded and followed D-day, our thoughts had a minimum of self-centeredness in them. We gave ourselves to our shared activity and objective. Once the undertaking was over we reverted to our own purposes, as we do normally.”

Broughton Knox was of course reflecting on his ship’s experience of the fellowship that people experience in pursuing a common goal. Human friendship is a wonderful thing but fellowship goes beyond friendship.

Fellowship occurs among friends committed to a common cause or goal and flourishes through their common pursuit of it.’

To experience true Christian fellowship we must be committed to the cause of Christ. We must give ourselves to the Gospel of Christ. When we share that great vision we’re free; free to serve selflessly, free to know joy in the face of danger and difficulty, free to find true fellowship.

As we labour to see our great mission completed, we experience a depth of ‘togetherness’ that mere friendship cannot know.

That’s the kind of unity we want to experience as we serve together in Airdrie – not just an absence of conflict, not just friendship, but deep and true Christian fellowship as we live and serve together – may the Lord continue to grant it to us in his grace and for his glory.

Yours in his service

Ross