(For Ray, Wayne, John and Steve)
Frances and I attend a gathering of Christian friends at a local restaurant on Fridays mornings for breakfast. Six of us regularly get together at these meetings, with one driving all the way from another state to be with us.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forevermore” (Psalm 133:1-3).
The “good” and the “pleasant” of brotherly union surely grace our own hearts with blessing. I look forward to the aforementioned gathering each week with much anticipation of good fellowship, and I am never disappointed. However, I also believe that God Himself finds much joy when He sees His children come together in meetings such as these. Indeed, He Himself does the gathering as the Holy Spirit leads like-hearted and minded believers to enjoy each other’s presence, and even more, the presence of God as He leads us in discussion, prayer, and the simple enjoyment of being with dear friends. While not a “church meeting” in the standard sense, I nevertheless believe that such gatherings provide an element of sanctifying grace that greatly affects our walk with God. “Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).
I share this to encourage such gatherings, as God provides opportunity. In days such as these, believers need each other’s affirmation, challenge, and shared determination to trust and obey the Lord Jesus by the enabling of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, we experience this in formal gatherings for the preaching and teaching of Scripture, prayer, singing and sharing together. However, smaller and more personal times of fellowship also serve the Lord’s purposes for constituting believers as one body with many members. Close friends usually know our lives well enough to be the Lord’s means of touching us in a way that specifically addresses areas of need. They challenge us with an accountability that requires more than just casual acquaintance. We also learn much from each other as we share together God’s Word and His working in our lives. Finally, a special aspect of God’s presence graces us when we gather together, providing a dispensation of His Person of which we may not be consciously aware, but which nevertheless imparts the Spirit of Christ to our hearts.
Frances and I count our Friday morning gatherings as a special gift to our hearts from the Father who loves to see His children together. As with the oil that ran down upon Aaron’s beard and garment, I believe that God “commanded the blessing,” and I have no doubt it assures us of the glory of “life forevermore.” For this we give much thanks, and we look forward to next Friday!
“Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee. And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given Me.”