Though I have much to write to you I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete. (2 John 1:12)
2 John seems more like a personal letter than an epistle for all the churches. Even so, there are gems to be found in this letter. We also find the Word of God.
There are many items to take notice of in 2 John. Who is the “elect lady?” Deceivers? Antichrist? What about the injunction to “watch yourselves?” The “love one another” is a phrase instantly recognizable. All perhaps easier to write about.
I was taken by v12, though, recognizing that this could be this generation.
What is fellowship? What is meant by cultivation of relationships? Even as old as I am I can get way caught up in the convenience of texting, instant messaging, and emails. “Fire and forget” is not a term exclusive to the weaponry of the military, it is a term that describes communication today.
“Here’s my thought” as I jot down an email and then, when sort of complete, when I have aired my chest, discharged my thoughts and emotions, I hit the “Send” button and off it goes—and I can get up and say “ahhh”, I feel better now—as one way this communication is.
But does this cultivate Biblical Friendship? Fellowship? Is it what Christ wants us to have, experience, and demonstrate to the world? Did the scripture say this: “Thus they will know you are my disciples if you text coherently, not misspell, and answer in a timely manner…”
Nope. The world will know we are disciples if we exhibit that we love each other.
So what does this have to do with fellowship and communications? Simply this: To love each other and grow in Christ with each other is to….talk with each other. Face to face. In proximity. Hospitality. Hanging out. Sitting over a cup of coffee or breakfast and open our lives to each other. And finally: Do it on purpose.
Why? Well, perhaps I could list a number of reasons scattered in the New Testament. But how about the reason in this passage: So that our joy may be complete.
Electronic forms of communication have a place. Paper and ink has a place. Often though, that kind of communication can look like moving stuff from the Inbox to the Outbox. Lives are to be shared, first in the local Church and then outside. Lives are hard to share if we just pass notes from one to another.
Accountability is one of the pillars of Good Life Church. It is difficult to take accountability seriously (either giving or receiving) if you are not friends first.
Lord God: Inspire my imagination on how to talk more with folks. Help me to reach out to guys I know and guys I want to know. Remind me that my commute is a good place to talk over the phone with folks; breaking bread either at breakfast or lunch is good. Keep in the forefront of my mind that this is purposeful, it builds the church. Fellowship is a holy tool in my discipleship toolbox. It is not to be avoided. I must realize that building biblical friendships is going to be inconvenient and hard but, by Your Grace and only Your Grace, You will make success out of this effort. AMEN.