Tuesday, August 25

Be a team player!

Scripture: Jeremiah 50-51, 3 John 

3 John 8–9 So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth. 9 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us.

Observation

The elder John wrote to his friend Gaius (possibly the pastor of a local church) to solicit his help in a sticky situation.  Christians were expected to practice hospitality.  It was especially important for traveling teachers and missionaries.  Gaius faithfully practiced this hospitality and John commended him for it, saying that he was partnering with the missionaries in their work.  But Diotrephes (possibly the pastor of another local church) refused to do this, forbade others from doing it and expelled them when they did.  

Why did Diotrephes do this?  The only clue we are given is that John says “he loves to be the leader” or “he loves to be first.”  From the scant information in the letter, there doesn’t seem to be a doctrinal issue (although there could have been); it seems to be more personal.  Perhaps Diotrephes resented John and his authority or felt threatened by him, and this was a way to assert himself.  

Application

Two things:

First, show hospitality or generosity towards those who are on Jesus mission—Team Jesus!  When you do, you are partnering with them in their work.  (See also Philippians 1:3-6, 4:10-19). I talked about this at church this weekend.  

Second, beware of proudly “loving to be first.”  Ambition can be holy or unholy.  When we see ourselves as competitors in God’s Kingdom, rather than partners and co-workers, it fosters all kinds of trouble—which is what seems to be happening with Diotrephes.  We often say, “If you’re for Jesus, we’re for you.”  It doesn’t seem that Diotrephes could say that.  Don’t ever tolerate in yourself petty jealousy, envy, or selfish ambition towards another Jesus-follower.  Be a team player!

Prayer: Lord, help me to be a Gaius—a team player for Your team, Your kingdom.  Help be to be for anyone who is for You!