Pastor Mervin Strother
Cornerstone Church of Amite, Louisiana
2020 was a year like we have never experienced! If I had to put a title on the year, I would call it “The Year of Disconnection.” Churches were shut down. Businesses were closed. Restaurants were closed. Vacations were cancelled. Family gatherings were limited.
As we all know, there were results and consequences to the aforementioned events. Symptoms of depression increased by 3 percent, suicide rates went up, domestic abuse skyrocketed, and a feeling of loneliness was widespread.
This shows one thing: We were not created to be isolated or an island unto ourselves! When God created us, He created us to be interconnected with other people. As the Church, our power and influence does not come from our wealth or the size of our buildings and congregations. Our power and influence come from our unity and connectedness to other believers. Jesus Himself said that the main sign to the world that we are His disciples would not be our ability to preach or prophesy, but the love we have for one another.
The Bible tells us in Acts 2:42 that the disciples continued in 4 things:
The Apostles doctrine (Word of God)
In fellowship (the Greek word is Koinonia, meaning a spiritual partnership and community)
The breaking of bread (celebrating their spiritual partnerships)
Some translations say they continued in this. Other translations say they devoted themselves to, while another translation says they were steadfast. From this, we gather that they were intentional in these four areas, one of them being fellowship.
After the craziness of 2020, we have to be INTENTIONAL regarding fellowship (Koinonia) and connecting with others. I call this “Intentional Connection.” For most people, with work, family, and kids’ sporting events...connecting with others is not going to happen by accident. It is easy for us to set our schedules of what we HAVE to do, just for our family unit. (Us four and no more, and slam the door on everything else.) But God wants us to be intentional in connecting with others. In the place of connection, there is love--this shows the world that we are His disciples. Where there is connection, there is unity--according to Psalm 133, this is the place of commanded blessing. I sure do like the idea of commanded blessing!
Intentional connection and loving others is not for the faint of heart. It is the will of God for the Church. People have been hurt by others and have had church relationships go sour. Some people feel like they have been overlooked, underappreciated, and are offended, so they withdraw from people and fellowship. Much to their demise, they rob themselves of the beauty of relationships and a commanded blessing.
We should all make 2021 the year when we intentionally connect, love like never before, and seek the commanded blessing of unity. Let's be bold and walk in Colossians 3:12-14: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.