What is our greatest aspiration for those around us? Whether it is our spouse, children, neighbors, coworkers, whoever . . . what do we dream for them?
This may sound a little old fashioned, but I'm not afraid to articulate some expectations. I expect my wife to be a faithful, loving complement to me, and she expects the same of me. I expect my children will obey and honor us. I expect church members to love and pray for each other. I expect a waitress will refill my glass and bring the check. Face it, we expect a lot from each other!
But what about aspirations? Our dreams for our spouse, children, church family, etc. are much more intimate and vulnerable because they usually stem from what we love besides that person. For instance, when someone aspires for their child to be a great athlete, it usually begins with a love for the sport, not the child. If athletic, academic or career success are typical aspirations for those around you, please consider this very carefully. There are higher and nobler ambitions.
We do not have a biography for the writings of John. General consensus among Bible conservatives is 3 John was probably written in the later part of the first century, 40 to 60 years after Jesus Christ's earthly ministry. In fact, John may have been the last living eye witness to Jesus miracles, death, burial, resurrection and ascension.
The churches and individuals John addressed had never seen Jesus. Jesus once said to His disciples, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed." (John 20:29) This impacted the disciples deeply as evidenced in what Peter wrote to the displaced Christians of his day, "though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him." (1 Peter 1:8) What a fantastic thing to behold. A generation believing in Jesus without seeing Him.
So . . . our highest aspiration. The greatest desire I should have for anyone else should proceed from what I love most of all. That very love for the Gospel above all else is what propelled those simple fishermen throughout the world to make Christ known. That's why the aged apostle John would say, "I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth."
I love 3 John 4 because it articulates the highest aspiration proceeding from the greatest love.
Thank you God again, for Your word.