The difference between "company" and "fellowship"
When I was a little girl, company was a big deal. It meant that our house would be full. Full of the smells of tasty food coming from the kitchen. And leading up to the arrival of said company, full of busy and frantic cleaning.
I loved the excitement of company. I loved that our house smelled of Pine Sol® and Pledge® . I loved to help dust furniture. I loved cleaning the glass on the front door. I didn’t always love that my main area of responsibility was cleaning the bathroom, however. Eww.
It was nice when our house was clean. Between the craziness that was me and my brother, our house wasn’t always “company ready”. Having company over was strategic and planned and something that we had to get ready for.
Fast forward to current times. I have my own little cherubs that make keeping the house clean nearly impossible. My husband and I try to keep a handle on it, but there have been times when I have half expected a knock on the front door and the folks from either Febreze® or Hoarders to come in to film our family in action.
The way that I combat the chaos from taking over is to have friends over for company. I don’t do it nearly enough. Between work and the kid’s schedules, our family stays pretty busy. But when we do, things around the house get done.
The general rule of the house is that we try to keep the downstairs fairly picked up. When we let this slide, having company can be a tad stressful for everyone. I know that I’ve slipped in my cleaning schedule when one of the kids asks who is coming over just because they see me with the vacuum cleaner.
As we have finally begun to have friends over on a more regular basis, something beautiful and unexpected has begun to happen. My view of having “company” has shifted. No longer do I invite our friends over so that we will have a reason to clean like mad. No longer do I feel that the people we invite over will judge me by the cleanliness of my baseboards or the clutter on my shelves.
I’ve begun to realize that we all come from our own messes and we welcome each other into our homes seeking more than just a meal. We come to have fellowship.
Fellowship is something that the soul needs. Back in college I took a semester of Greek. It was not an easy class, but that is a story for another day. Sadly, I remember very little from the class but one word has stuck with me: koinonia.
Koinonia is a Greek word which means fellowship. It occurs 20 times in the New Testament and these occurrences give us pretty amazing examples of how we benefit from fellowship. By having fellowship with one another we begin to honor one another (Romans 12:10), live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16;1 Peter 3:8), accept one another (Romans 15:7), serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13), be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32), admonish one another (Colossians 3:16), encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11;Hebrews 3:13), spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24), offer hospitality (1 Peter 4:9), and love one another (1 Peter 1:22;1 John 3:11;3:23;4:7;4:11-12). That is what true biblical koinonia should look like. Read more about koinonia here.
This weekend we were blessed with fellowship among dear friends. We barely left the dinner table and shared about our lives, our troubles, our joys, and our victories. When our friends departed, my belly and my heart were full.
Yes, I will still clean like a crazy person when we have company. I think it is part of my DNA. But I am so thankful for the fellowship that we have with one another and I am grateful for friendships that leave room for each other’s messes, too.
Jennifer Collins is a Graceful Mess.
Living a messy life, full of grace.