For many years Debbie and I have ended our day by praying together. We alternate speaking from night to night and every now and then when we are really tired we may only say “Thank you for this day, please help us sleep, Amen”. But usually we will thank Him for our blessings hold up special requests from the day and ask His guidance on the lives of our family and church family.
I really love it listening to Debbie pray. She is so sincere and natural and she often humbles me when she thanks Him for me saying things like: “Thank you for his leadership, for his companionship, for his friendship and his partnership.” The commonality of those words ending in “ship” struck me and caused me to start thinking more about that. Did you know that there are more than 900 words in the English language that have the “ship” suffix? So I did a little digging and found this:
“The suffix -ship has been studied in some detail, but most of that detail is irrelevant to all but the most hardcore etymologist. The most important thing, in terms of its origin, is that it is unrelated to the word ship meaning ‘a vessel, especially a large seagoing vessel’.
-ship is a suffix used to form nouns of state or condition, chiefly added to nouns and especially personal nouns. In Old English it was widely used with adjectives and participles, but only two of these survive (hardship and worship, from an adjective meaning ‘worthy’).
The uses can be divided into ever-finer distinctions, but there are some basic categories. It can denote ‘quality; condition’ (kinship; friendship ‘the condition of being a relative/friend’). It can denote ‘skill; act; power’ (scholarship ‘the acts of a scholar’; horsemanship ‘the skill of a horseman’). It can denote ‘number’ (readership; listenership ‘number of readers/listeners’). It can denote ‘profession; office; position’ (professorship ‘the profession of a professor’). It can denote rank or title (ladyship; lordship).” https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/21168/is-there-any-relation-between-the-suffix-ship-and-actual-ships
This made me think about Job and what he went through. Here was Job who according to scripture was blameless and upright:
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1)
And he suddenly found himself in a situation where everything in his circumstance changed for the worse. He lost much of his family, his possessions and even his health. Job was going through hardship.
We have all been experiencing a tiny fraction of that hardship lately with COVID-19 and like Job one of the things we most desire when going through hardship is companionship, fellowship and friendship. Sure enough some of Job’s “friends” showed up and, at first, did a really good job providing him silent companionship.
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. (Job 2:11-13)
But when it came time for them to provide him friendship his friends began to make assumptions and to challenge Job about any Sin in his life. They could not comprehend that bad things happened to people, unless that person had sinned and God was punishing them for it. Job, in his pain, was seeking companionship, friendship, fellowship and leadership and was only getting censorship. I do not know about you, but I know that I have been guilty of the same thing. There have been times when I have had opportunities to provide companionship, friendship, leadership, fellowship and partnership and have instead only given censorship. When Jesus was faced with that choice concerning a woman caught in adultery His response was very different.
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:3-12)
This led me to two conclusions. First we should all “Get aboard” the Friend–SHIP, the Companion–SHIP, the Partner–SHIP the Fellow–SHIP and the Leader–SHIP with each other and those around us.
Secondly and more importantly we should all be thanking Jesus every day for his companionship, friendship, fellowship, leadership and partnership. You see hardship should lead us to Jesus and from Jesus to worship.