"Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me,
having loved the present world."
2 Timothy 4:9-10a
There is a lot of emphasis put on fellowship in the church today. It is a Biblical principle and discipline. It comes from the Greek word koinonia. This word describes not just a gathering but a people that share an intimacy and a closeness in the Lord. However, we have messed up that definition to some degree. We often think of fellowship in the sense of a gathering of our friends that makes us feel comfortable and relaxed. I don't think this is the whole definition of what Christ intended.
Paul encourages Timothy to come to him quickly. Think about what it is that he means. I personally don't think that he is saying to Timothy, "Please get here quickly, because I am so bored. I need someone to just hang out with." Paul saw fellowship as an opportunity to comfort one another in the Lord. He desired the presence of Timothy, because he needed someone of a like mind to undergird him in his ministry. I am sure that they had great moments of fellowship and laughter. However, Paul saw the big picture of what God called them to do.
On the other hand, you can hear the disappointment in Paul's voice when he tells Timothy about Demas. It is obvious that two things bothered Paul about the recent events. First, he was hurt because he had watched a brother walk away from him. He loved Demas and cared for him, so when he left it was difficult personally. I have never understood how brothers and sisters in Christ can just leave their church family with no explanation and break fellowship with them. It is often people that you have loved and prayed for the most that leave you. I am sure that this is exactly how Paul felt. He had spent countless hours with Demas in the ministry, so when Demas left, he took it incredibly personal. The answer to many would be to not love people so much and let them get too close to you, so that if they did leave it wouldn't matter as much. However, that is not how God has called us to love people. He told us to not love like a hypocrite. Either we love completely or by definition we do not love at all.
Second, it seems that Paul also was concerned for the long-term welfare of Demas. He told Timothy that Demas had not only turned his back on him, but more importantly he had turned his back on God. Somewhere along the way Demas started looking at the world in comparison to looking at Christ. There was an attraction to the world. It looked appealing. It offered fulfillment for his flesh. God will never compete with that. His offer is first fulfillment of the spirit. When the spirit and soul are fulfilled, then and only then will we understand real happiness. Demas knew all of this. He had listened to Paul preach time and time again. How could anyone turn away after hearing the greatest preacher of all time? This is what must be understood. Demas did not simply turn his back on Paul. He turned his back on God. Paul knew that Demas would not have to answer to him, but he would give account before a holy and a righteous God. What a fearful place that will be for the one who has rejected a holy God!
May you stay in fellowship with God and His people!