Weekday Devotionals

Fellowship & Service written by Raquel Simmons

Bible verse: Acts 2:42-47 - All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper[a]), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.  They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity[b]— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Thoughts: To grow anything in life requires time and dedication. Whether it be growing our own garden, growing our muscles, possibly a business, and even growing spiritually. Sometimes that growth process can be uncomfortable. For example, with growing a garden we would have to be willing to get on hands and knees and get dirty. Growing our muscles we have to push our body to uncomfortable limits to make those gains we are looking for. The same is said for our spiritual growth. Pete has said many times and said again on Sunday that “Spiritual growth is a product of intentional investments over time.” I would like to add (sometimes uncomfortable) right after intentional. I say this because I know from experience!

To grow spiritually, we must be willing to be authentic and also be willing to put others before ourselves in service to God. Prior to being a Christian, I thought I was the most authentic person in the world! It wasn’t until Jesus started the process of peeling back layers (so many layers) of the onion that I realized I had been living as my false self for a very long time. One of the ways I realized this was through fellowship. Fellowship is the word we often hear to describe getting together with other Christian believers. “Fellowship” was like pulling teeth for me! I am an introvert and am just fine with being alone with my nose buried in books. My husband is an extrovert and loves being around people and parties. Fellowship came much more naturally to him. Getting together with other believers was hard for me in the beginning of my faith walk, but after some intentional investments over the years in Godly friendships and in small groups, I found God healing the deepest parts of my soul through fellowship. Parts that I didn’t even know needed healing yet. Over time, I found I didn’t have to try so hard to be authentic, it seemed to flow more naturally. I would be lying if I said I didn’t still think about what others think of me. But, I will truthfully tell you that because of intentional investments over time through fellowship with believing friends, I have been able to grow so much more spiritually than I would have just on my own. I now have friends I trust that I can text or call when I’m really struggling and they will quickly remind me of what God says about me. Or share a recent devotional that they read that they think would be great for me. And sometimes it’s just having a friend who sits and listens with a patient and compassionate heart. I wouldn’t have that without intentionally growing those relationships over time.

To grow spiritually, we must also be willing to serve. Service - intentionally and consistently serving God by serving those who could never repay you. I said prior, to be willing to put others above ourselves in service to God. I have been serving in Thrive Kids for 6 years. It has been so much fun and I have learned so much about my own faith through these kids. I am a leader that teaches Bible lessons to the kids and tell them about Jesus, but most of the time they are teaching me something new about life! It has been such a blessing to my life. It has not always been easy though. There have been times where I’ve served several Sunday’s in a row because the help was needed. And yes, there have been Sunday’s where I have not wanted to come at all. But, I am committed to serving God by serving others. I have seen the impact that it has had on parents when they are able to worship and hear the message without having to worry about their child. One time I had a mom come to me in tears and so thankful because God moved through the message that powerfully. She may not have been able to experience that if people weren’t willing to care for her child while she was in church service. Some families will not go to church at all because of worries about their children. So, on those days when I’m feeling lazy and unmotivated to serve, I try remember the “why” behind my serve. Why do I do it? I serve God by serving others. I serve so that a mom or dad can have an opportunity to hear the Word of God and maybe even give their life to Christ. Serving within our church has been a necessary part in my spiritual growth.

I think most of us want to grow spiritually. So let’s start by being authentic and being willing to serve others!

Application: Step out of your comfort zone. Join a small group and join the dream team!

- Raquel