Thursday in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

3 John 1-8

O Good Gaius

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1).  His name was Gaius; beyond that, we only know that he was a kind and hospitable man—not a bad epitaph for one’s tombstone.  John had heard from others of Gaius’ faithfulness and hospitable behavior towards the “brothers” who had relayed this information to him.  We do not know if these brothers had been sent by the Apostle (here called, “elder”) or if they were traveling missionaries known to John.  Either way, Gaius had proven himself a model of Christian charity by receiving the brothers.  Hospitality was considered a great virtue in the ancient Mediterranean world and still is.  We could learn from them.

But it was not only that Gaius was hospitable to the brothers; John commends him because the brothers had informed him that Gaius was “walking in the truth.”  We are reminded here as we were in John’s Second Letter that love must be grounded in the truth of the gospel, or it is not love at all.  And I must confess that as a father and grandfather, verse four has become one of my favorites: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  Amen.

From the best we can tell, the brothers whom Gaius received were missionaries or evangelists who went from place to place.  Though John’s letters were probably written toward the end of the first century, it is interesting that a second-century manual for churches known to us as the Didache also deals with traveling “prophets” and “teachers” and how to discern the genuine from the phony by their teaching and behavior.  We learned from Second John that anyone who denied our Lord’s coming in the flesh was not to be received; that is, even hospitality has its limits as elders are charged to protect the flock from false teaching.  But here it seems that Gaius received legitimate brethren.

Whether or not to receive wandering preachers is generally not an issue for churches today.  Indeed, it is incumbent upon pastors and deacons to know the doctrine of the man who fills the pulpit.  But it is just as necessary that these same men see that the church has a ministry of hospitality to brethren and even outsiders who may need such help.  I might suggest the book of former lesbian, Rosaria Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, of how one minister’s hospitality towards her helped bring her to repentance and saving faith.  Also her, The Gospel Comes with a House Key.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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