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Devotional - week of November 21, 2004


ENRICHING THE FELLOWSHIP

In Jesus’ great prayer in John 17, He prayed for His followers to be as one. Sadly, this is not always the case. Perhaps we can gain some insight from a study of the disciples of Jesus. Three times their fellowship was disturbed.

The first disturbance occurred as Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Capernaum. The disciples were arguing among themselves as to which one was the greatest. Jesus knew of the discussion and He told them that in the eyes of God greatness is in being a servant of others.

Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, "What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?" But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.  Mark 9:33

Another break in their fellowship came when the mother of James and John asked Jesus if her sons could sit on His right hand and on His left hand in His Kingdom. Again, Jesus told His disciples that greatness is in serving others.

The most disturbing occasion of broken fellowship came at the establishment of the Lord's Supper. Luke 22:24 says:

Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.

Again, Jesus told them that in the Kingdom of God greatness is in serving others.

Changing from a desire to be great in the eyes of others to being a servant of others is easy to understand. But, it is not easy to do. However, God provides the way for this change to be made. First, we must understand that our know-it-all attitude, or our sin nature, causes our desire to be thought of as being great.

Our need is to experience our union with Christ. This makes our know-it-all attitude powerless and results in our being filled with the Holy Spirit. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, divine love fills us which results in a desire to serve others.

When believers experience these changes, contention disappears and fellowship is enriched.