Fellowship of the King
It has been a good while since I’ve posted anything, but there is so much going on in my head lately that I feel like I need to get some of it out of there. Luckily, there is a fine salad of both positive and negative thoughts tossed together. No one wants a nasty jello of negativity. Not the best metaphor, but I’m rusty; give me a break.
I just got back from an amazing retreat with a Christian organization called Campus Crusade for Christ (or Cru for short). We had loads of fun consisting of games, competitions, and delicious food, but ultimately we were there for one reason: God. There was uplifting worship and thought-provoking messages, but one thing really struck a chord with me: The irreplaceable value of fellowship.
Ever since around my middle school years, I’ve been somewhat of a lone wolf. I’ve gotten used to doing things myself, solving my own problems, and leaving everyone else to do their own thing. If I can take care of myself, why should other people be able to do the same, right?
Wrong. For starters, I can’t do everything myself. I can’t solve all of my own problems — I may not even be able to recognize my problems. That’s why God has blessed me with such great brothers and sisters in Christ. For example, before this year when I became active in Cru, I didn’t realize the value of worship, community, or sharing the gospel. To me, it seemed like extra stuff that wasn’t a necessary part of being a Christian. While someone may argue that these things aren’t really necessary, necessity isn’t really the issue. If you really are transformed by Christ, you should desire these things. I didn’t see this until I was exposed to it on the level that Cru brought it to me. Now I look forward to worship every Sunday (and Wednesday when I can attend), I’ve find irreplaceable friends in my fellow Christians, and I have an itch that doesn’t seem to go away unless I’m seeking to share the gospel.
On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve found that I can’t see all of my own strengths. It is difficult to build myself up without being prideful or selfish. Fortunately, I am surrounded by others who will happily encourage me.
The last night of the Cru retreat was Encouragement Night. If you’re like me, this at first sounds silly and somewhat juvenile, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The night consisted of Cru members talking to each other one-on-one and — surprise, surprise — encouraging each other. For example, one of my upper-classman friends described to me how he’s seen me grow spiritually in the short time we’ve known each other, and he gave me advice on how I can continue to grow. Another upper-classman, who I’d only spoken to on a few occasion, gave me invaluable advice on how to manage my time. I also spoke to a few of my fellow freshman, and we exchanged encouragement and spoke about where we were spiritually. Even now, writing this, the whole thing sounds a bit cheesy. Nonetheless, I am convinced that Encouragement Night is easily one of the best experiences a young Christian can take part in. I can’t wait until I’m an upper-classman and I can help guide a younger brother or sister in Christ.
Which leads me to my next point: How I can help others. I feel ridiculous thinking back on my old perspective of Christianity. I thought I could live out my faith alone, without effecting those around me. If we look at Jesus’ example, however, we see that an independent approach to the Christian lifestyle just isn’t good enough. I now realize that I can offer an invaluable service not only to non-Christians, but also to my Christian peers.
My prayer life has never been very strong. I feel like I can barely pray for myself, so how can I pray for others? I think I’m finding now that the only way is to just do it. If I know what others need help with, I can pray for it — no loss in that, I suppose.
From a more hands-on angle, it recently occurred to me that I never really discuss how my Christian friends are doing spiritually outside of Bible study. We don’t check up on each other or hold each other accountable, and that’s a shame. I feel like we could all grow so much more if we had each other’s backs all day, everyday. Of course, that’s easier said than done since we’re all college students with a busy schedule. Nonetheless, I’d like to make a better effort.
To sum everything up: Don’t underestimate the value of fellowship and community. It’s easy to overlook what you need when you’re never fully exposed to it. Let others help you find it, and help guide others as they seek it.
That’s about the extent of my thoughts along the fellowship train of thought right now. Maybe I’ll return later to spew out some more thoughts from my mental river, but I think the dam has stopped overflowing for now.
Note: It’s late and I don’t feel like proofreading this right now. With that said, don’t be surprised if I never go back and fix grammatical and spelling mistakes. Sorry. I hope it’s still readable.