“I don’t speak French but I read somewhere recently that if you want to say, “I miss you” in French, you might say, “Ty me masques.” I also read that the literal translation of that phrase would be, “You are being missed by me” or “You are missing from me.” Isn’t that interesting? Today, when we read the Epistles, or letters, written to those 1st century churches, we tend to think of them as teaching tools for sermons or Bible studies. We can lose the strength of the original connection between the author and the readers. It’s easy to forget that, originally, they were personal letters. In this day of email and internet relationships, the same thing can happen. There is power in personal connections, isn’t there? Today, let’s consider two passages: one from a letter that Apostle John wrote, and the other from a letter the Apostle Paul wrote. Both can help us to better consider the powerful truths about personal connections:
(3 John 1:14-15) I hope to visit you very soon. Then we can talk things over personally. Peace be with you! Your friends here send you their greetings. Greet each of our friends by name.
(Romans 1:11) I am longing to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.
That’s the language of emotion and relationships. In both of today’s passages, the writers aren’t just sending their readers biblical “bullet points.” They are communicating that being together is important. John “hopes to visit” his friends soon. Paul is “longing to see” his readers, in person, so that he can impart some spiritual gift. It’s common these days to communicate via texts or emails, but the most satisfying exchanges come from spending time together. We can read the other person’s body language. We can see the expressions on their faces. Communication takes on far greater power when we are sharing experiences in person. Many people today are choosing to be cautious about personal interaction, and this is a matter of conscience. As a result, my wife Pam and I have several friends who, because of age or health issues, must remain at home—so we visit them! Relationships are a wonderful gift from God. So today, let’s consider ways in which we make real, person-to-person connections. And if you can’t meet face-to-face, make time, pick up your phone, and call a friend.
God made us for relationships. Not only can you and I can be a blessing to others, but in reaching out, we’ll be blessed, as well. And blessing others, that’s something God always likes us to do! And that’s Good News.