In the very beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the waterways, the land, the vegetation, the seasons of the year, the fish in the water and the beasts of the field. In each instance, He looked upon His creation and “Saw that it was good.”
Finally, He created man and upon further inspection, said, “It is not good for the man to be alone”. From the very beginning, loneliness was deemed as something that was not good. To this very day, it is not good to dwell in isolation.
According to a new study from a major university, we're on the cusp of a "loneliness epidemic." One report of the study summarized: "Ask people what it takes to live a long life, and they'll say things like exercise, take Omega-3s, and see your doctor regularly. Now research, from Brigham Young University, shows that loneliness and social isolation are just as much a threat to longevity as obesity."
The study analyzed data from a variety of health studies involving more than three million participants from studies that included data for loneliness, social isolation, and living alone. Tim Smith, one of the co-authors of the study said, "Not only are we at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, but we're at the highest recorded rates ever on the planet. With loneliness on the rise, we are predicting a possible loneliness epidemic in the future." Authentic community has never been more attractive—or more necessary.*
Researchers are reaffirming in scientific studies today what God said at the very beginning. It is not good for man to be alone.
One of the major components of the early church was the existence of fellowship. It says of the early church in Acts 2:42 that “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
The early church knew the value and importance of continual fellowship. Fellowship is one of the key components in healthy, sound churches today. If you belong to a church family, you have friends who are like family.
Recently, my wife and I had opportunities to bring guests from Japan into our church family. They all made the same observation. They said that everyone seemed to love one another and were happy to see each other. It was a place of joy.
It warmed my heart to hear that the signs of good fellowship are present in our church family, for, indeed, authentic fellowship should be a benefit of belonging to a church family.
Something to think about…
*Matt Woodley, Andrew Finch, Tim Gioia, PreachingToday.com.