“Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.”
3 John 1:3-8
So I learned about these verses in class today and to be honest, I didn’t even realize there was a 3 John, I mean there are already so many other books with John’s name on it. Obviously I need to keep learning all I can. What’s so cool about this letter John writes to Gaius, which to be honest once again I would’ve never noticed by just skimming over these powerful verses like I would usually do. John is writing to Gaius who is a local church leader/pastor, encouraging him and thanking him for all of the faithful service he has dedicated his life to by serving the Lord and serving people with the Lord. This part stuck out to me because John is commending him for the hospitality he’s shown towards traveling ministers coming through his town. These guys are complete strangers to Gaius but he is still willing to do whatever it takes to help in advancing the Gospel and bringing the life changing truth of Jesus to people. It may seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal what Gaius was doing but that’s what’s cool about Gaius’ example of service.
He didn’t have to open his doors and give a place to stay to these traveling pastors, in the context of these verses it says that Gaius is sick and struggling with some kind of illness that won’t seem to leave him. On top of that, he faced scrutiny from some members of his congregation about having these traveling pastors coming in and messing up what they had going on. Gaius probably didn’t feel like serving and being faithful in these moments but it’s obvious that the truth was the driving force of His life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the spread of that good news to people in need of Him, that was the most important part of his life. Everything else was secondary. I’m sure at times whether it seems like a little or big act of service, we so often make excuses, “I don’t have time for that, well if I serve in that way then it will mess up this or that.” At the end of the day, isn’t the good news of Jesus Christ coming to this earth, dying for the sins of man, and giving us a gift of eternal life when we deserved the death on the cross. I was extremely convicted today to think, what could possibly be more important than that??? Although I so often enter ME into the equation and what I want, I find myself wasting time focusing on me instead of focusing on the only truth that really matters on this earth. Whether it’s showing hospitality to someone through literally letting them stay at your house or showing faithful hospitality in little daily life ways with others, either way you put it, it’s important and no matter the size of the act of service, each moment we step aside from ME and live in God’s goodness and truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is spread and when God is in it fully without our selfishness, the little becomes huge Kingdom impact.
It’s crazy to think about all the times I base my life and the opportunity I have to serve others off of ME and my wants, making excuses and listening to the opinions of the people around me, justifying my lack of faithful hospitality because it’s not what my neighbors doing or it’s looked down upon in our church culture or our culture we live in outside of church. Learning from Gaius example today, all the stuff we deem as important is nothing compared to the goodness, faithfulness, and love that God shows us daily and has shown us through the good news of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. What’s holding us back from being faithful in our service in this mission to spread Christ to the broken lives all around us? When seeing the truth in the magnified way that Gaius sees it, seeing the truth in the magnified, extremely HUGE life changing way that it is, changes a lot about how we serve and how we seek out opportunities to serve and when God shows up at our front door with a chance to serve someone in our daily lives, instead of saying no because of this, that or the other, embrace each opportunity to serve in the truly important and BIG lens that it is. It may seem little at times but little is much when God is in it.
Also, talk about some humbling hospitality, I’m out of town for a job interview and my buddy who lived not too far from where I’m checking out is letting me crash at his place for a couple nights while I’m here. It’s not anything special or out of the ordinary, it’s just what we do because Christ has called us to serve, the truth is too big to overlook when lives are at stake. My life and heart has been completely humbled and changed by my friends act of hospitality. So who’s life can be changed if we all embrace hospitality in faithful service of the good news of Jesus Christ! I’m excited to see the Kingdom impact that will be made through lives surrendered to the truth of the Gospel! It may be hard at times, we may not feel like it, we may be sick even, we may face so much opposition it doesn’t make sense, but with the view of eternity, it’s an eternal sacrifice for an eternal investment and God’s eternal glory will be magnified.