Lent Day 39

“Nothing gives me greater joy than to hear that my children are following the way of truth.”
3 John 1:4

I saw 3 John 1:4 last week and thought what a wonderful verse for a devotion. Then I questioned myself, “Are you going to write a devotion on a verse and not make sure it is in proper context?” Therefore, reading and researching 3 John commenced. 

Scholars and commentators say the timeframe for 3 John is most likely when John was exiled on Patmos. John is writing to both encourage and instruct Gaius, a traveling companion of the apostle Paul. Wait a minute, John is encouraging Gaius while he is exiled. 

When I am in a difficult situation, do my thoughts go to instructing someone? Much less sending encouragement to them. Today, let us take a lesson from John. Instead of focusing on ourselves, let us focus on others instead. I am not advocating ignoring our problems and difficulties. Rather, to make sure they are in proper context with God’s larger picture for each of us.

My pastor in North Carolina would say, “Ask yourself if this issue, worry or problem will matter 5 years from now. What about 10, 15, or 20?” 

His question blossomed within our church community. One day, I came to better understand what asking myself this question accomplished. I answered the question, usually while laughing and responding, “No.” But by stopping to ask it, the focus moved from me to the larger picture. 

What is the larger picture? The fact that Jesus died and rose for me to have eternal life with Him. And even though, we have trials and tribulations; we can proclaim confidently: God is fully and completely in control. 

Lord, my prayer today is that I am more like John is in 3 John. When difficulties arise, may my thoughts be on how can I encourage and instruct someone else. Remind me to ask myself the question, will this issue matter in 5, 10, or 15 years? Thank you for being in control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Written by Dawn Whitmore

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