Ministering to People Face to Face
In 2 Jn 12, John concluded his letter to the elect lady with these words, “Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.” He concluded his letter to Gaius in nearly the same way, 3 Jn 13-14.
There are three points in our text about communicating with someone effectively, particularly in a time of need.
John wrote, “I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you.” We live in an age of electronic communications. We send emails and texts. And in certain instances, emails and texts are very handy ways to communicate. People often ask me Bible questions by text or email. And replying the same way is quick and helpful. Sometimes, I’ll follow up with a phone call to make sure that they fully understand the answer or that they don’t have more questions.
However, there is nothing like a personal visit. John said that he wasn’t going to write anything else to his friend; instead he would come to her. He told Gaius, “I shall shortly see thee.” We don’t visit much anymore. If you want to really minister to friends go see them. Meet them somewhere. Take them for a meal or coffee. Get together with them.
Don’t just rely on texts and emails. Make time to visit them. And then go see them. If I could, I would just read, pray and visit our folks and souls who need to be saved.
Speak Face to Face
John wrote “and speak face to face.” Have you noticed how difficult it is for many in this generation to carry on conversations? When you are speaking with someone, the conversation is spontaneous. The atmosphere in the room changes. If you have come to console them, just your presence is enough to comfort them. A preacher called about a visit to a church member who had just gone through a tragic and sudden loss of a loved one. He wanted to know what to say. I told him that just being there would do more than anything he could say.
I’m reading Chuck Colson’s book, Born Again. In it he recounted his visits with Tom Phillips, President of Raytheon. He told of his visit from Doug Cole, after Chuck was saved. His visit with Senator Harold Hughes is a tremendous testimony of enemies becoming friends in Christ. The things that transpired in those conversations could have never been accomplished if they were not visiting face to face.
Paul sent Tychicus to the Ephesians to comfort their hearts, Eph 6:21-22. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that God comforted him by the coming of Titus, 2 Cor 7:6. People need to see you and you need to see them.
Rejoice With Them
John wrote, “that our joy may be full.” You can really bring joy to people when you visit with them face to face. When Robert and I used to visit with Graciella, next door, she was comforted by our visits and prayers. Sadly, her husband was dying. After he died, we were with her on a couple of occasions and our visits were a joy to her.
You can really cheer people up when you visit with them. Paul wrote, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep,” Rom 12:15. Notice the word “with” in this verse. You have to be with them to rejoice with them.
John wrote, “that our joy may be full.” Did you notice the word “our” in this verse? That’s right, the joy experienced by your personal face to face visit is not just their joy. It is your joy, as well. But you won’t know that joy by staying home. Recently, I preached about the need for intercessory prayer. If you couple your prayers with visits, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ and a great help to the church.