Offering Hospitality and Encouragement


READ: 3 John 5-11

RECEIVING: In these verses we have an example of how to receive as well as an example  of how not to receive. It seems as if Gaius and his family were getting it right (v5) whilst Diotrephes was getting it wrong (v9). Diotrephes was also speaking badly of people and insisting that others did not receive those he disliked (v10). It seems that once people begin to close their hearts to a few people, they end up closing their hearts to many more. Diotrephes ended up putting the more hospitable church members out of the church (v10c)! His problem seems to have been one of pride (v9). Let's pray that we have a real spirit of humility, never wrongly criticising or excluding, so that we are able to receive both "brethren" and ''strangers".

SUPPORTING: John's commendation of Gaius is that whatever he did he did faithfully (v5). This is a tremendous complement. It implies that Gaius gave hospitality with an eye to the Lord who had received and blessed him as well as an eye towards those he himself wanted to receive and bless. He was faithful to God and to man. Let's praise God for the way He has received us and blessed us and let's pray too for a real faithfulness in receiving and blessing others.

TESTIFYING: John tells Gaius that those he has encouraged have in turn encouraged the church by mentioning his love (v6). Let's think about how we've been blessed by the love of others and then praise God for this.

SENDING: There are times for receiving and times for sending. Our love needs to be releasing, not clinging. John encourages Gaius to send people on their way "in a manner worthy of God" (v6). Let's pray about this in relation to those we wish to encourage.

SUPPLYING: It is good when those who are specifically engaged in the Lord's work can draw all of their support from fellow believers without having to rely on a "begging bowl approach" to those who have no commitment to the gospel (v7). This of course presents us with a challenge. Let's pray for the grace and resources needed to rise to such a challenge.

PARTNERING: John speaks of becoming "fellow workers for the truth". Partnership is an important principle that enables us to enter into each others blessing and challenges. Let's declare this before the Lord as our objective.