John was an Apostle who loved the church. His writings included history, doctrine, admonition, warning, application, and encouragement. He passionately wanted to see his readers through to the end. What an incredible reunion it would be when he, his readers, and the Risen Savior would be fully reunited in Paradise. There they would know one another intimately, fully, and transparently. There they would also see the person of Jesus Christ, in all his triumphant glory. In paradise they would be found face to face with the King of kings and lover of their souls.
In reading through 2 John this morning, I found myself struck by verse 12 of John’s second epistle:
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 2:12)
John, who was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was not satisfied with merely communicating information. He was not satisfied seated behind his desk. Written correspondence filled a need, but it was not relationally fulfilling. John was not just an author or blogger interested in disseminating his good information. No, John was a pastor who longed for face time with his friends. This sort of constant contact made his joy complete.
Therefore, in meditating upon this verse for a short time, two points of application came to mind.
First, it is not sufficient for ministers to be preachers; they must be pastors. Disseminating information is good, useful, and necessary. However, even though ministers communicate with angelic voices, if they have not agape-love, they are like nosy gongs or annoying cymbals. (1 Cor. 13) Being a pulpiteer is not sufficient The man of the Word must be a man of the people as well. He is a pastor first and secondarily a preacher. In other words, he preaches because he is a pastor; he e is not a pastor because it gives him a paid opportunity to preach. So, in his study he focus on the Word that in his pulpit and life he may focus on his people. Great ministers love to pen great sermons and write excellent blogs, but they pant for face to face communion with their friends. Such face to face friendship makes their joy complete.
Secondly, in this digital age, let us not lose the immense benefits of face to face communication. Facebook is grand, but it is not enough to make one’s joy complete. Instagram and Twitter provide a sense of community, but communion is not fully experienced through such platforms. It is wonderful to keep in touch by phone and text, but these ought not fully replace physical touch and making eye contact one with another. So, let us focus more on hospitality over the coming months. Let us open our homes and drop in on others. Let us share meals together around kitchen tables and car pool more often to events. Let us come to worship early and stay a bit later. This year, keep in mind the words of John, and humor yourselves with the words of Joe:
Though I have much to write, text, and preach to you, I would rather not use only my computer, my mobile device, and my pulpit. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face. And I hope that you will make this easy and also come and visit me. Let us do so that our joy may be complete. (Uninspired and Altered from 2 John 2:12)