3 John 5-8—Dear friend, you are showing faithfulness by whatever you do for the brothers, especially when they are strangers. They have testified to your love in front of the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God, since they set out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such men so that we can be coworkers with the truth.
Kathleen and I often receive letters with requests for money from friends or family members who are preparing to go on a mission trip. We particularly enjoy it when the request is from a teenager or young adult. God often uses mission trips not just to be a blessing to those who are ministered to, but also, He often profoundly expands the faith of those who obediently respond to His call. I have seen my own children, my nieces and nephews, and the children of friends of ours who have returned blessed by the people they fellowshipped with and deepened in their own commitment to serve Christ.
Honestly, I am much less excited by requests for money from strangers or people I don’t know well who need to raise support to journey to other countries. Most of the time I ignore them and I fail to take time to honestly pray whether I should respond. So I find the passage above in John’s letter to his friend Gaius to be encouraging, convicting and enlightening.
First, John commended his friend Gaius for what looks like physical and monetary help he provided to fellow Christians (probably strangers). These folks needed help and Gaius was glad to provide it. This encourages me to be more perceptive to opportunities around me that require my assistance from those whom I don’t necessarily know serving the Lord.
Second, I am convicted about lacking empathy and for not being perceptive to meet the needs of those who require assistance. I need an attitude adjustment. These men John mentions refused to receive any help from pagans. They would not let credit for their efforts go to those who were not following Christ. What a great statement of fidelity! We who are believers need to take care of our own.
Third, I am enlightened by several gems John reveals. Gaius’ generosity moved the people he helped to share with the church about his love. Gaius didn’t just help strangers; his actions encouraged the whole church! John further recognizes that those who serve God should be treated in a manner that is “worthy of God.” Ill-equipped Christians, who go out to serve the Lord, are a poor reflection on the church and may end up dishonoring God. At stake is not just a mission enterprise, but the very glory of the Lord they serve! Finally, John noted that Gaius’ actions made him a coworker with the truth. By giving, Gaius became a partner in the propagation of the gospel. You and I may be unable to journey to another land to share about Jesus but we can go vicariously by supporting those able to travel. We show our faithfulness by whatever we do for our brothers and sisters, “especially when they are strangers.”
©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)