Years ago, police found a woman dead on her kitchen floor—She had been there four years! One former friend said, “She didn’t want anyone to bother her. I guess she got her wish, but it’s awfully sad.” Another said, “My heart bleeds for her. She lived in her house 40 years, but none of her neighbors knew her well.” God did not create us to have a lonely existence. Rather, the Bible envisions God’s people as members of a fellowship where we nourish and care for each other. In the letter that Paul wrote to believers at Thessalonica, he counsels both leaders and laity on how to maintain a caring fellowship: “Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in God’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. We urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with every one. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Paul knew that conflicts would arise among God’s people. But he also knew that fellowship is far better than loneliness.
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