Welcome to Welling for your spiritual health and growth.
How are you? Well? How are you doing? How’s it going? In the series on “well,” I’m addressing your total personal wellness from a distinctly Christian point of view. Because the one who created you knows every dimension of your life, every detail of your physical being and can probe deep into your soul and spirit.
It is to him we must relate in order to be personally well. I’ve been receiving some health wishes recently. Many have sent wonderful messages, kind messages, assuring Bonnie and me of prayer, words of encouragement, that are offered as their health wish for me, personal total health.
A friend actually said this, “Praying for you tonight, Ramesh, asking God to cover you with love from your friends all over the world. We are all praying for complete healing for you and praying for great peace for Bonnie and your children. I know that God has more great work for you to do for him. Please, feel the prayers of so many of us who pray for you throughout the day and night. We know that he’s able to heal you completely, totally. If there’s anything I can pray for you specifically, for you and Bonnie, please let me know. Right now, I’m praying for total healing and total peace for you and your family.”
What a beautiful note. They want me personally well, totally well, which is what I want for you during this time in season of the world that is making us sick. We are unwell. The same health wish is found in the Bible, a remote passage in one of the shortest books of the Bible and the New Testament, is found in 3 John. A wonderful health wish, personal health wish, that is total in every way today, but we’ll be totally whole someday on that day.
In the meanwhile here’s how John the Elder expresses his health wish. “To the beloved Gaius–” in English, “Gai-use,” “–whom I love in truth.” Here it is, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health just as your soul prospers.”
What a great health wish. It was common in those times to open letters in this way, but this is more than just a greeting. It’s an expression, a wish, even a prayer. “Beloved I pray–” that in all respect, every part of you, totally, fully personally, you may prosper and be in good health just as your soul prospers.
In those first few verses of 3 John, you will find a couple of words permeating, repeating, and expressing what the elder’s prayer was for Gai-use, Gaius. One, is the word love. He calls him, “beloved” 3 times, “beloved.” Gaius experienced God’s love and people’s love. Love of course, is one of the most elastic words in the English language, but it is of the highest Christian virtues.
For nowhere else can you find God’s love for human beings, than in the Christian faith, where he loved us at his expense. And we have been loved in a way that nobody else can love us. So we can give love away like nobody else can give away, since we have experienced love. I know we use the word “love” for all kinds of stuff, for technology, that I’m looking at a computer screen, or for food or for recreation. We use the same word, “love,” for people, spouses, kids.
Those are illegitimate ways of using the same word in such an expansive way. There needs to be depths of meaning and layers of affection, isn’t it? Loving somebody to the best, highest possible way, even at your own expense, was demonstrated by God, who thus loved the world. There was no love left over, and he loved in such a way a particular way. There’s no comparison.
Love is an index of being well. Do you love? Are you known for your love in leadership, literature? Everybody talks about humility. Even in secular literature, we need to have humility, not only personal resolve, but professional will along with humility. But what distinguishes Christian service? Christian leadership is love.
The other word that is repeated over the first few verses of 3 John is the word “truth.” Those need or accompany each other all the time. Because if you love without truth, you compromise reality. If you are true without love, you compromise relationship. Truth must always be accompanied by love, and love must always be accompanied by truth. So it doesn’t get crusty or doesn’t simply stay as a crush.
In that very first line of 3 John, the elder says, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth or the truth. Truth has come under terrific criticism these days. There are bombastic declarations like, there is no such thing as truth. I recently did a seminar for the Caribbean on the matter of truth. With all the news that’s fake and falls, is there such thing as truth at all? Looking at the statement, there is no such thing as truth.
And the first observation of course, is that whoever is making that statement, there is no such thing as truth, thinks and speaks as though that statement is truth. That’s a truth claim. Truth as well, is an index of being well. Truth. Love. Gaius was known for both. No wonder John the Elder says to Gaius that his soul is already prospering, personally well.