Hi everyone, it’s Mick and welcome to Thursday’s Podcast; today’s Bible reading is 3 John1:1-8. As we explore this week our Godly Purpose we focus today on ‘faithful’ – verse 5 says this
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing
Faithful – what does it mean? Something to do with loyalty, keeping a promise, being constant and true, reliable, trusted. It’s a strong word! As Christians, this is how we describe Jesus – he is faithful (‘Faithful one’) but it’s also how we are called to live our lives; faithful to God and faithful in living out his values of truth and love but also his lifestyle of service in our world. To be faithful is a high calling indeed!
Every time we offer kindness and love, give generously of our time and money we practically live out our faith. Listen to today’s verse (5) from the Message Bible:
Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible.
Faithful is what describes our lives as we follow Jesus. We are faithful because Jesus is faithful to us in every area of our life. Here are two wonderful expressions of ‘faithful’ in this short reading today.
Faithful … is personal: John is so personal as he prays for his friend Gaius in v2: Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It’s even more specific in The Message Bible:
‘I pray for… everything you do, and for your good health – that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul!’ (v.2, MSG). It’s a great thing to be faithful in praying for our friends that they might enjoy ‘good health’ and that ‘all may go well with [them]’ (v.2). Imagine someone praying for you every week in this way – how good would that be? That is a true friend!
Faithful … is practical: it sounds very churchy talking about our friend’s ‘spiritual life’ and their ‘souls’. But John is so practical as he prays not just our ‘spiritual’ life but also for our ‘physical’ life. He says it is made visible by love and love is only real when it becomes practical! John spells this out in v6 ‘they have told the church about your love’ – so this faithful love was obviously shown in some way … and here is how it was show in v8
‘we ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth’ The word ‘hospitality’ here means to welcome, to lift up; so we are to welcome guests and strangers in an open and friendly way.
Again, listen to The Message Bible here
It’s good work you’re doing, helping these travellers on their way, hospitality worthy of God himself! … they deserve any support we can give them. In providing meals and a bed, we become their companions in spreading the Truth.
Before I became a Christian I only really did hospitality with people I knew and liked. I couldn’t see the point of strange people coming into ‘my space’ when I wanted to wanted relax, watch TV, drink my Yorkshire tea with a dunking chocolate hobnob – it’s a Northern man thing! That changed (slowly!) when Jesus entered my life and our home as I realised it wasn’t ‘my’ home but ‘his’ home. However, my wife Tricia got this far quicker than I did – she is an absolute star when it comes to hospitality – everyone who has come into our to our home (x7 homes!) over the years is treated in the same way – not just great welcome, great food and a great time but a real interest in who they are, how they are and how Jesus can bless them. That’s true hospitality.
Part of our ongoing vision at STC has always been to invite people to ‘Join Us’, to be ‘faithful’ personally and practically in showing love through welcome and hospitality – not just a coffee on Sunday in church but also Monday to Saturday in our homes and lives.
Hospitality is an act of faithful love.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your faithfulness to me and those I love. Help me this day to show faithful love and service to those I meet. Amen
BIBLE READING: 3 John 1:1-8 (NIV)
To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.