Do you think Thomas was offended when Jesus didn’t give him one of the three VIP passes to get a glimpse of glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1)? Do you think Andrew and Matthew grumbled when Jesus chose Peter, James, and John to pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane while they and the other apostles waited outside (Matthew 26:37)?
I don’t know how they felt, but I know Jesus did not sin. That fact fascinates me, since it proves that being close friends with only a few is Christ-like and not cliquish. Jesus preferred the 12 apostles to the crowds of thousands, the “inner three” to the Twelve, and “the one whom Jesus loved” to Peter and James. And yet he did not sin a single time! Apparently, you can be close with some without being cliquey toward the rest.
Do you recognize this key distinction? Fellowship is the love you show to every brother and sister in your church family. It’s when you push pause on your little circle of friends and open up your arms to welcome those who might not get invited out for coffee, dinner, and drinks. God, help us remember that next Sunday!
Friendship, on the other hand, is your smaller circle of “Peters, Jameses, and Johns.” It’s the few people whom you do life with—confessing sins, bearing burdens, and investing extra hours of your limited time.
Remember that distinction and you will imitate your Savior who loved all but was friends with only a few.