3 John 1 (New Living Translation)
(During this week between Christmas and New Year’s, we are looking at the five books in the Bible that have only one chapter.)
1This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth.
Who is this Gaius? Other than that he is presented as a good example, it is hard to know. David Guzik tells us that Gaius was one of the most common names in the Roman Empire!
2 Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 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. 4 I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.
Caring for the Lord’s Workers
Matthew 25:21 (New International Version)
His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers
“For His name’s sake they went forth” — 3 John 7
Our Lord has told us how love to Him is to manifest itself. “Lovest thou Me?” “Feed My sheep” — identify yourself with My interests in other people, not, identify Me with your interests in other people. The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no one saving Our Lord Himself. Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of Redemption wrought in my by the Holy Ghost Who sheds abroad the love of God in my heart, and that love works efficaciously through me in contact with everyone I meet.
9 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us (obviously, a bad example). 10 When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.
11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.
Psalm 37:27 (New Living Translation)
Turn from evil and do good,
and you will live in the land forever.
12 Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius (another good example), as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.
13 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. 14For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face. 15 Peace be with you.
Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.
from the Life Application Bible:
“Whereas 2 John emphasizes the need to refuse hospitality to false teachers, 3 John urges continued hospitality to those who teach the truth. Hospitality is a strong sign of support for people and their work. It means giving them of your resources so their stay will be comfortable and their work and travel easier. Actively look for creative ways to show hospitality to God’s workers. It may be in the form of a letter of encouragement, a gift, financial support, an open home, or prayer.”
Four women have taught me much about hospitality:
1) My mother, Maurine Riskedahl, was a good cook and an interesting conversationalist. (I am grateful that I now have her good dishes—Haviland—that she bought with money from her first year teaching in Adel, Iowa, in 1946.) Every year Mother put on a “Christmas Tea” at our house for all the faculty and staff at our high school; she served seven different kinds of homemade Norwegian holiday delicacies along with a variety of other goodies.
2) My aunt, Genevieve Wilson, made everything so pretty at her table and in her home. Even as a young widow with a daughter, living very frugally, she still supported a missions child overseas. Later in her life she opened her home to visiting missionaries from around the world and cheerfully, generously, supported them.
3) My friend Sue Awes articulates what Mother and Aunt Gen did but never expressed so clearly — that hospitality is a gift from the heart. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should show tender, loving care, with your own creative touch! Some years ago I was on a mission trip with Sue, and I will never forget watching her teach, so joyfully, a group of older Russian orphan girls the basics of gracious hospitality (a piece of fruit in a colorful bowl on the table, a flower in a pretty bottle at the bedside . . . ).
4) My friend Linda Wallace makes hospitality seem simple and fun, as if you are doing her a favor by being her guest! Her warm and unpretentious ease when making you feel at home is pure elegance, pure grace. And I must mention her delicious bran muffins and lemon-filled creme puffs!
Who has taught you? Who are you teaching? Do it as unto the Lord, as these four women have!
In this song, “Remembrance (Communion Song)” by Matt Redman, my favorite line is “Now the simple made divine” — for that is the transforming power of Christian hospitality.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.