When I think back on my army days, there were good times, but also times when you really missed people. The best medicine was a letter from the States, which is what we called South Africa there on the border. That was the only way we could communicate. Well… the perfume that clung to those letters told an even better story…
It wasn’t much different in Paul’s time. The only way you could communicate was by letter. For everything he wanted to say, when he wanted to encourage people, when he wanted to help others through crises, he had to pick up his pen. And thank goodness he did, because millions have benefited from his letters through the ages.
Take this short letter that Paul wrote to his friend, Philemon, and others. In this letter he tells his friends what the right thing is to do. In a loving way he encourages them to help one another.
1I write this letter to you, Philemon, my good friend and companion in this work-2also to our sister Apphia, to Archippus, a real trooper, and to the church that meets in your house.
Today there are many easier ways to communicate that works quickly, even immediately. Not like the letters in our army days that took months to reach us. No, nowadays I write an e-mail and click on the send button and it reaches the other person immediately. Or when I receive a joke on WhatsApp, I click the forward button, select the name of my friend in Australia, and immediately it lands thousands of miles on the other side of the world.
I don’t really know how it works, but I know that it does work, because within seconds a bunch of smileys comes flying back.
I realise how fortunate we are to have communication systems like these. The groups help us to stay up to date with one another. My brother, sisters and I chat every day. Our friend groups know exactly what is going on in one another’s lives, and yes, mother in law is on my case!
How Paul would have used such wonderful communication systems such as these. How many thousands of people he would have been able to reach and encourage, guide, warn or simply chat to.
But he had his chance. Now it is our time to make a difference in other people’s lives. Maybe you are wondering what your purpose on earth is. Maybe you are wondering what your talent is. Maybe it’s your calling to help, encourage or even warn your friends and family with a message on WhatsApp, Messenger or another communication platform.
I know you immediately think of the flood of messages all of us receive every moment of the day, and yes, it is too much. But maybe you’re the one to whom your family and friends will listen. You can be the one who see the pain and suffering in someone else and send encouragement at just the right time.
Always be selective with your words, pictures and videos. Respect other people’s time. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice. Don’t be afraid and make a difference in the lives of others by sending the right message at the right time.
Maybe you have to write something somewhere?
Maybe you have to give someone a message?
Maybe you have to share the Gospel with someone?
Father, I know I have a responsibility and a calling as a Christian to live right. I know You have called me to be where I am now. Please help me to stand up and talk about You wherever I go. I want to proclaim your salvation, because there are many who need it. In Jesus’ Name, amen.