“...if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another...” 1 John 1:7
This past winter our family was very much in need of a time to bond and get away together, but alas the big conflict, who was going to watch the farm?
Living on a farm with all the animals and fresh produce just a few steps beyond our front door is a wonderful way to live. And yet we are often restrained by our farming endeavors from being able to just pick up and go wherever we would like. Trips either need to be taken by only part of the family, or for a short period of time between feeding and milking chores, or when we are blessed by a family willing to stay on our farm and take over for us while we are gone.
Amazingly, it is in those times in which we have felt the Lord leading us to pursue a means to get away together for a longer length of time that we have truly come to understand the greater meaning of the scripture of 1 John 1:7. You see it is not often a close friend or family member steps forward to care for our farm, but rather Christians we hardly even know who also need a respite – a time away from their busy lives in the city who have stepped forward and answered our plea - they are the ones the Lord has sent our way. It is amazing to watch the hand of God as He works out the logistics of respite times for both families and how perfectly matched the family who comes to our farm is to being able to handle and care for the exact needs of the farm that year and season.
The first family who came to our farm were acquaintances through a shared home schooling group. The mother had grown up on a small hobby farm in England and was so excited to be able to share a farming experience with her children. The weather even cooperated as it was blustery and windy the entire week and she said the stay really reminded her of home and the blustery English winters she had growing up.
The second family who came our farm were friends of an acquaintance we didn't know well but knew as very faithful people in the Lord. After only meeting the mother of this family once I felt the Lord impressing me to ask if her family would like to stay the entire length of our trip (10 days) on the farm – before that she and a friend were just going to take day trips out to the farm and switch off the daily chores. She was so excited at the offer and so was the rest of her family. She too had grown up on a farm and used to milk her own cow and so dearly missed all of the chores of the farm and the country life. Again the time we had away proved to bless each of our families.
For us who are Christians and who have fellowship with one another in Jesus Christ it does not seem strange that we would leave all of our possessions in the hands of almost complete strangers because someone who walks in the light of Christ is really not a stranger even if you have not known them long. But for those who are watching on the outside our behavior does seem a bit odd as I discovered when my exchange student asked me how long I had been friends with the mother of the second family staying at our home. To her question I could only respond, “I just met her when she came out last week, but that doesn't matter because we are sisters in Christ.”
Our fellowship with one another as we are united in Christ is one of the greatest testimonies we have to give to a watching world. There is no explanation for our behavior because the fear of the world creates division and manufactures walls between people because society sees that type of behavior as wise and prudent boundaries for safe living. But in contrast Jesus, in the light of His truth and in the fellowship we each individually share with Him, unites all who call upon Him and removes any need to protect ourselves from one another. We have perfect fellowship not only with Him, but also through Him.
Now, that doesn't mean we can just go out into the world and trust every person who crosses our path or even anyone who calls themselves a Christian. But, when the Spirit of God unites us with other believers, that is our chance to fellowship in the light of the Lord and come together to make an even greater light with our combined testimonies to the miraculous ways He works in drawing us together and working in the wonderful relationships we can find only in Him.