“Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.” ~1 Sam. 23:16
Over the past week, we were blessed with the presence of about 80 brothers and sisters in Christ from across the United States. We got the chance to talk, play, and rejoice together. Our voices were lifted in unison that was not only beautiful to listen to, but filled me with a desire to hear the combined chorus of all the saints and angels in Heaven, shouting praises in perfect harmony to the Most High God. Sometimes, however, due to tiredness, emotions, or merely shyness, we back away from the chance to find out more about our family. We shy away from introductions, convincing ourselves that we couldn’t think of any interesting topics, or that they wouldn’t want to talk anyway, or we shy away because we want to remain in our own close-knit circles of friends without any distractions from others we’ve met only once. Yet ask yourselves this question: If you are nervous about meeting new people, or to put it another way, about meeting your brothers and sisters in Christ, how will you ever possibly be bold enough to share the Gospel with an unbeliever? These are family members, precious children in the sight of God, joint heirs of a kingdom everlasting. If we never meet these people, we will never get a chance to see how truly wonderful they are. But introductions are only the first steps. After that comes the truly fun part: mutual enjoyment, edification, and encouragement. So many times, we find it a chore to think of things to say about the Lord. Yet this is only because we have a wrong relationship with the Lord. When we have a real, strong, one-on-one relationship with Him, we will find it not only easy and natural, but a great joy to speak of the One who has given us the greatest gift imaginable. Look at the verse above: Jonathan arises and travels hundreds of miles to an outlaw who is being sought by the king, for the sole purpose of strengthening David’s hand in the Lord. What an example to us! Like Jonathan and David, our hearts should be knit to fellow believers and we should be willing to risk our lives, possessions, and earthly inheritances to encourage and strengthen them in their stand for the Lord. These past few days, our brothers and sisters in Christ have come to visit us and though we may not have had time to talk to every single one, we at least have had the opportunity, as was said this week, “to extend the right hand of fellowship” to them. Don’t hesitate to meet others you may only see once every year or two. These people are not only your family here on earth, but in heaven, as well. If you are going to spend eternity in their company, why wait to get to know them? When you find a good book, you immediately sit down and begin reading, you don’t set it aside for years until you are retired and have more free time. How blessed we are to start learning and benefiting from the company of our friends so soon! May your friendships here on earth grow so strong that instead of meeting at the gates of Heaven as distant acquaintances, you meet with a shout of joy as you embrace as brothers and sisters! Hallelujah! May God be glorified!
Your brother in Christ,