Basketball is exciting, ten players on the court built like race horses, lean and lanky, running and shooting and sweating, pure energy moving gracefully up and down the court. One of the things I like to see is when someone makes a basket set up by a great pass through the defenders, giving the player an open shot.  As he makes the turn and heads for the other end of the court, you can see him pointing to the player who set him up for the shot. I don’t know who started the pointing, but it says a lot as an unspoken sign.


Basketball is exciting, ten players on the court built like race horses, lean and lanky, running and shooting and sweating, pure energy moving gracefully up and down the court. One of the things I like to see is when someone makes a basket set up by a great pass through the defenders, giving the player an open shot.  As he makes the turn and heads for the other end of the court, you can see him pointing to the player who set him up for the shot. I don’t know who started the pointing, but it says a lot as an unspoken sign.
    Pointing the first index finger at a fellow teammate has many meanings: “Thanks,” “Good pass,” “Great set-up,” “You the man ...” I am sure you can think of more meanings, but you get the point. I think more than anything else, it says "You make a difference." No matter how good a player is or how good of a shooter he is, he cannot do it by himself. He needs the help of fellow players, the coach, the crowd, the trainers, and some even give credit to God.  But pointing a finger means "I realize that I could not have done it by myself; you make me better."
    Early Christians had a sign; the difference is that it was a secret sign that they used to identify each other. A secret, because some people wanted to kill or imprison the early Christians. So, to make sure they were among friends, they would draw a flat arch in the sand or dirt. And if the other person was a Christian also, he or she would draw another arch upside down and crossing at one end, and together they would draw a fish. I am sure each time someone drew an arch on the ground, they breathed a sigh of relief when another individual completed the sign and a fish appeared.
    We are fortunate in America; we don’t have to fear for our lives because of our faith in God. And we don’t have to go around drawing in the dirt to identify one another, although it might be helpful.  But as Christians, we need each other just as much, if not more, than basketball teammates. As the early church began, "they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to the fellowship. To the breaking of bread and to prayer…and the Lord added to their number daily…" (Acts 2:42-47).  Another New Testament writer, John, declares in I John 1:3-4, "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."
    Christian fellowship is the same as pointing a finger.  We gather in the name of Jesus to say “You make a difference in my life. You encourage me. I am a better person when I am around you.  Your faith strengthens my faith. Without your encouragement, I fail.  If you can put out the effort to be here (on Sunday mornings, or at a Bible study, etc.), so can I.” God knew how important fellowship would be, and so did his early followers.  We may have forgotten or maybe never realized how necessary it is. In Hebrews 10:25, the writer begs, "Let us not give up meeting together… but let us encourage one another."
    Let’s do an experiment. The next time you see a fellow Christian who makes you a better person by their example or encouragement, point a finger at them, and let them know they make a difference in your life.  You can even give them a high five if you want.