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The Difference between Fellowship & Relationship

Moderns bandy about their “relationships” which sounds so arcane to older folks. We had friends, family, spouses, and neighbors in the old days. They speak of relationships as being very close but in actual fact relationships are more likely to be apart or at least at some distance. To speak of someone you have close relationships with is actually called fellowship. Perhaps you heard it too much in church and think it is only for religion.

Here is a scripture that can easily be misunderstood which demonstrates the difference. From Luke:

The Prodigal Son

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

The son had a relationship to his father. He was a son and he didn’t stop being his son when he went off on his bender. We can have relationships by blood, as a son-father, or by marriage, or by corporate agreement and other contracts. I have a relationship to the companies in which I have stock. I have a relationship to my country as a native born citizen, taxpayer and voter. You can have a relationship with your animals because you are legally responsible for their care, but in all these cases you do not necessarily have fellowship.


I have no fellowship with the managers of my stock purchases. If I think the company is a bad investment, I sell the stock but I never speak to anyone about it nor would I want to. I have a a relationship to the colleges where I graduated but I haven’t been back for many decades.

Fellowship is personal. My husband, my closest relationship and my closest fellowship when he was alive is long gone. My children have grown and gone and we have fellowship on Facebook. My church is 150 miles west of here so I have no more fellowship with them although I still have my name on the books, hence relationship.

When a military man is deployed he still has relationships at home but his fellowship is now with his military unit. Thank heavens for the internet and Skype.

Now, about Yahweh. You can be saved (relationship) but still have very little fellowship with Him. I know many Christians who have virtually no fellowship with him. I will ask them, “Did you pray about this?” They’ll say, “Oh I am not going to bother Yahweh with something as small as that.”

I won’t sermonize here, but Yahweh makes it plain that he is especially interested in fellowship. He says, “Come let us reason together.” He wants to talk and explain stuff to you. He says, “I will never leave you,” but how many people can appreciate that in daily life?

If you have questions the Bible has answers but it means reading parts you may never look at. Yahweh uses the Bible to speak directly to people. Of course you have time. You just must take it from some other place where you are using it. As long as you are alive you have time. In fact that is what life is – the time you are here.

If you get with Yahweh this year, He might give you a big party!

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