Face to Face
“I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name” (3 John 1.13-14 NIV).
The Apostle John finished two of his letters to friends with the same closing statement, expressing that he wanted to see them soon face-to-face. John conveys that he had a lot to share, but he could not do it all on paper. Some words had to be expressed in person, eye-to-eye with his listener. In our high-tech, texting and social media world today, we can forget to visit people in person. We busy our schedules to the point that we may be tempted to do all of our communicating via the computer or phone. Although communicating with the written word can be efficient and useful, it will never achieve what a face-to-face visit can do. When we spend time with others, we can hug them and listen with our ears and eyes, catching body language and facial expression. Reading and writing are great forms of communication, but they are no match for speaking and listening with people we can see, smell and touch. It is awesome to read the stories about Jesus in the Bible, but how amazing would it have been to hear those stories from the very mouth of an apostle who walked with Him and lived life with him for several years? Nothing compares to a personal, in-person exchange of ideas, affection and encouragement. If the Holy Spirit places people on our hearts to encourage, we should always first try to meet them face-to-face.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10.24-25 ESV).