“I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” (2 John 1:12, NIV)
I had no idea what I was going to write about today. Usually, I have something on my mind for a couple of days before I write about it. I am clear about the story I’m going to share and the general idea. But this morning, I have to say, I got nothing. Then I read 2 John. It was an encouraging letter John wrote to a woman he called a “chosen lady” (vs. 1). He reminds her of all the great things that are happening around her because of her faithfulness. He admonishes her not to become too comfortable in her success but to watch out for the evil one. Then he finishes by saying he could have written more because he has so much to say. But instead he says he wants to visit with her. He wants to spend time talking about the things God is doing. The written note will not be enough. He wants to have a conversation with her.
I understand how John feels. I have this friend I’ve known for about five years. We used to see each other on a regular basis because we worked together. In that five years I’d say there were times we had some really great conversations. I believe they were God-ordained. But I quit working several months ago so my weekends would be free to spend with my family. As a result, I don’t see my friend anymore. Our schedules are busy and so we keep in touch by messaging back and forth in writing. Every few weeks I write a note to tell her I was thinking of her and wanted to say “hi”. She responds and catches me up on her life’s events. It’s short and sweet and everything is in writing. But I have to say, it’s just not the same and it makes me sad.
I read this passage this morning and John’s words spoke to me. As much as he enjoyed encouraging the “chosen lady” and exchanging letters, there was something about the time they would spend together that couldn’t be matched. There was something special about meeting face to face to share words of encouragement. There was something about praying together and sharing the trials of life that couldn’t be replaced with words on paper. I love to write and I write encouraging words to people I care about all the time. But writing is a one-way conversation. You don’t have the privilege of hearing a response. You can’t see the look on someone’s face when they read the words you wrote. You can’t further explain the depths of what is in your heat. John knew that. He understood that writing, as amazing as it is, doesn’t complete a relationship.
I encourage you today to make the time to spend with the people who are important to you. I especially encourage you to spend time with the Lord. That relationship is the most important. Have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Take a walk with your spouse. Spend some time with someone who needs a listening ear. John says your joy will be complete. I tend to agree with him. There’s nothing like spending quality time with someone you care about and who cares about you. I promise you…in writing.