Three Little Words
…by Chuck Graham
One morning God and I were studying the words of the Apostle John. Well, I was studying. He was waiting for me to understand. Specifically we were looking at John’s encouragement to Gaius.
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 1
These people were travelers, maybe early missionaries. But what is clear, they believed in Jesus as the Son of God and though strangers to Gaius, John wrote of them as being his family.
Following Jesus is an adventure filled with strangers.
Author N.T. Wright explored this idea of strangers being family.
It is worth pondering the vast difference between their world, where most people hadn’t even heard of Jesus, and those who only knew that his followers were a strange and dangerous bunch of people, and ours, where ‘the church’ as an institution is all too well known, even in countries which try to ban or severely limit the practice of Christian faith.
Precisely because of the differences, we have a lot to learn from those early days. The cheerful courage and faith both of such first-century missionaries and of those who gave them hospitality (perhaps arousing suspicious questions from neighbours) ought to remind us that following Jesus is expected to be an adventure. New things will happen. New people will come into our lives, and even though they were strangers a moment before, suddenly we realize we are part of the same family. 2 (emphasis added)
We are all part of one family, and we need each other.
A few weeks ago I sent a friend an email describing hardships I’ve faced this year. He knew I wasn’t complaining, just sharing, but he was concerned how it all might affect me. He replied with much needed encouragement, ending with three little words…I need you. 3
This man and I have never met. But for many years we have corresponded. At first it was about the Notes I write. Then it was about our lives, our callings, our faith, and yes, even our hardships.
Have you ever said those three little words? I need you. Don’t assume it’s understood. And don’t think it’s about admitting weakness. It has nothing to do with weakness. It’s about strength! The strength of family…even with one who a moment ago was a stranger.
Take care & be God’s…I need you.
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching how to encourage one another. Also an author and speaker, Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org .
Footnotes : (1) Read 3 John 5, NIV. (2) Nicholas Thomas Wright, The Early Christian Letters for Everyone…James, Peter, John, and Judah, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (UK) and Westminster John Knox Press (USA), 2011. (3) My Kiwi/Kenyan buddy, David John Tait, Walking With Jesus Ministries (www.wwj.org.nz), Kingdom Heath Foundation in Webuye, Kenya (www.kingdomhealthfoundation.com), author of The Words of Jesus, Thinking Greek or Hebrew, and Transition from “The Church” to “The Kingdom”.
Pictures : Banner Shot: From The Conversation/Shutterstock.