2 John 12—Though I have many things to write to you, I don’t want to do so with paper and ink. Instead, I hope to be with you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete.
While attending a class on cyber security in November of 2012, I was amazed to learn that 4.8 billion people own a mobile phone which surpasses the 4.2 billion people who own a toothbrush. Fascinating! Just imagine if all of those people could connect via a twitter account—the ability to pass information instantaneously is staggering.
Jesus’ beloved friend John, the son of Zebedee, lived the longest of the twelve disciples. Our Bible contains five books he authored through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—the Gospel of John, three letters and Revelation. I wonder what it was like to sit down in his presence before he died and listen to the amazing stories he recalled from his time with the Messiah and a life lived in serving Him. He was a kind, humble and warm-hearted man full of love defined by a deep and reverential commitment to God.
John wrote often about the topics of love and truth. What establishes sincerity in his words to me though is his statement regarding paper and ink. John was not satisfied to just write down his thoughts and send them via messenger to those he knew in the church. He wanted to physically be in their presence. He knew that the best kind of joy comes from face-to-face fellowship. There is an important lesson in his observation.
Information for the sake of information is rather empty. A twitter-fed frenzy of what is happening in life is not LIFE; it is a snapshot in time quickly lost in our always-in-need-of-a-new-buzz world. Eric Schmidt the CEO of Google notes, “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.” When my youngest son, Stephen was born, Google was not even a word!
Speed in passing information is certainly valuable. Doctors save lives by accessing critical facts more rapidly. Leaders make better decisions by capturing relevant data. But if we just live for amassing and passing information we have lost sight of what really matters. The ability by cellular service to text or talk may replace paper and ink but it is still inferior to physical company. Take the time to go and hug someone you care about and tell them you love them. Sit and listen to what they have to say. Truth and love are best learned by being there. There are men and women in Africa and South America today who walk days just to be able to attend spiritual gatherings. We think what a pity that so much time was wasted having to travel. They think what a joy to be able to journey.
If we treasure the flurry of information and exalt the speed at which it travels we may miss the greatest most valuable lesson of all—the joy of presence. It is not lost on me that I communicate this via email. I wish I could “be with you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete.”
Fellowship is something we should highly prize because God prizes it highly.—Watchman Nee in Changed into His Likeness
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)