Dealing with Stranger Things

July 25, 2017

Hello Friends. Omar has done such a fine job and it has helped me so much I am going to extend his assignment one more week. He will cover 3 John this week. I will be back July 31 to begin Philippians which will take us through September. Following that we will move into Colossians for October and November. It’s going to be rich, so stay tuned. And thanks for the time off. ;0)

3 John 5-8

5 Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. 7 For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. 8 So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.

CONSIDER THIS

There is a Trappist monastery in Bardstown, Kentucky, called The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. You can go there for a silent retreat and pray with the monks, and as you enter the guest house the rule of St. Benedict is carved in the wall. It reads:

“Let all guests who come be received like Christ.”

I think it has a double meaning. First, receive any guest as you would if Jesus in the flesh were coming over to your house. My guess is you’d go all out. But the second meaning is just as important: To receive any guest the way Jesus Christ would receive them. My guess is he’d go all out.

In today’s text, John says, “you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you.” I imagine he could say, “You are receiving them like Christ.”

I think the key here is “strangers.” These weren’t just random unknown people; they were other believers. As we’ll see tomorrow, someone in John’s friend’s church was not okay with strangers coming through. It’s still a problem today. If we’re honest, we all have our theological turf wars… Be it our denomination, our theology, our church, our culture, our politics, our zip code, or even our Sunday School class.

But go back and re-read today’s text and you’ll find three truths about what happens when we encounter someone in the faith who’s not like us:

  1. They’re for the Lord
  2. You’re faithful if you care for them
  3. They’ll tell others what you did

If you visit the Abbey of Gethsemani, be sure to hike the trail to the sculpture garden. There you’ll find a large sculpture of the three disciples who fell asleep while Jesus was praying the night he was betrayed. Then, about a stone’s throw away, you’ll find a haunting statue of Jesus praying in agony.

The sculptures were donated to the Catholic monastery in memory of a white Episcopal seminarian named Jonathan Daniels, who was killed in 1965 at a civil rights protest in Alabama. He was shot by a local deputy while shielding a black woman named Ruby Sales. On the plaque commemorating the statues is the inscription:

“May we always remember that the church exists to lead men to Christ in many and varied ways, but it is always the same Christ.”

THE PRAYER

Heavenly Father, your word tells us to show hospitality to strangers because they might be angels, and that when we serve the least we are serving Christ. Create in us a heart that welcomes our brothers and sisters, so that we may always receive them as Christ. In his name we pray, amen.

THE QUESTIONS

1. What would it look like for you to receive someone not like you in the faith as Jesus?

2. Take it a step further, what would it look like for you to receive someone not in the faith like Jesus?

For the Daily Text, I’m Omar Al-Rikabi

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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