I love reading the books of the minor prophets or the smaller epistles in the Bible. I feel like these books get easily overlooked because of their size. When I read them though, I always love the little gems of knowledge I find tucked in there.
I recently read 3 John and was just taken in by the message of hospitality. 3 John is not a long book so I’ve just put it in its entirety below:
1 The elder,
To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 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. 3 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. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come,I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.
13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name. (any emphasis is mine)
Paul and Gaius have a lot to talk about. But Paul decides to focus on a few things until they are face to face:
- v11 – Do not imitate what is evil but what is good. This applies to so many things really, and Paul talks at length in the epistles about what is good and what is in evil. I’m really interested in what he has to say in 3 John…
- v8 – We should show hospitality to people the work for the truth. – GOOD. We need to be taking care of the people who are doing God’s work. This could mean so many things – financially, through prayers, by inviting them over for dinner, by helping with their work load in a way you are able – the list is endless. What is God laying on your heart to do for someone who spreads His truth?
- v5 – Even if they are strangers. – GOOD. There are people all over the world, at your work, in your neighborhood, far from home, close by, people you know, and those you don’t, working for the Lord. Even if you don’t know them doesn’t mean you can’t support them. You may not be able to invite them over for dinner, but you can pray for them, financially support the organizations they work for, or when you meet them, thank them for their kingdom work.
- v7 – (So) they don’t have to get help from pagans. – Good. As God’s great big family, we need to support the work being done to support His family. We shouldn’t be leaving it up to government or general humanitarian organizations. These organizations are not automatically bad, but God has asked us to help the poor, so we need to step out and do that.
- v10 – Refusing to welcome other believers. – EVIL. I know it can be hard sometimes to look past our differences and see our similarities. But if we can look past them and see that we are on Jesus’ team and that He is the truth for getting to heaven, then we can work together instead of building more walls between us.
- v10 – Stopping those who [welcome other believers]. EVIL. If someone else is working and helping those doing God’s work, we need to support that person and the work they do, not try to stop them. We need to be in this together.
There are so many important pieces to Christian hospitality and the support we can do for those spreading the gospel. I know for me it’s a great encouragement and reminder of how to ‘let’s don’t fight about Jesus’ as we work together to further His kingdom.