Today’s Reading: Acts 2:1-47 (additional reading: Psalm 122:1-9 & Proverbs 16:19-20)
I want to start with a short story about something terrible that happened to some Romanian orphans and a real medical condition many of them suffered from. Even today in many Eastern European countries, there are so many orphans institutionalized that there isn’t enough food or medical supplies or staff members to take care of them. The babies, often past toddler age, are still kept in diapers and placed in cribs because there’s no other way to take care of them. They are lifted out to be fed and they infrequently have their diapers changed. There is no real physical contact with other humans, especially any of the cuddling and holding that babies need to develop normally. They end up in semi-catatonic states and often die from a lack of human contact. This condition is called “failure to thrive syndrome.”
We need to understand that “failure to thrive syndrome” can happen in our spiritual lives. It can be avoided and it can be cured. But, prevention doesn’t happen by itself.
There are many who have become familiar with the Greek word ’koinonia.’ The most common thing people say is that it means “fellowship.” The key to avoiding this spiritual disease is through fellowship. But, fellowship is much more than what you may think it is. We can see what I mean in today’s passage Acts 2:41-47. It’s the prescription against “failure to thrive syndrome”.
Basically, you can take this passage as the definition of the Greek word ‘koinonia.’ In the church today, we often take for granted what the word “fellowship” means. We too often think of potluck dinners and ice cream socials.
Fellowship here is from a Greek word “koinonos” which is where we get “koinonia”. It means to be a sharer, a companion, one who is a partaker, a participant in communion.
What should we experience when we have true fellowship? We see more in verses 44-45: “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.” o you see “together” “common” “sharing”? This is the same as the definition of the Greek word “koinonos”.
We have true fellowship when we demonstrate genuine caring for each other and meet each others’ needs. Caring is just an emotion that says, “I care for you.” Fellowship means we must take action.