I Thank My God in All My Remembrance of You
I’ve written before in this space about how wonderful Facebook is as a window into people’s lives. You can argue that what people post on Facebook isn’t as much a window into their lives as it is what they want people to think is their lives. I would counter-argue that that – who people want to be perceived as, rather than who people really are – is just as much of a window.
I have had the good pleasure of intersecting with a lot of fellow Christian travelers in my years as a believer. I have been positively influenced by many and have in turn sought to positively influence as many as I could. Some – whether as their elder or Bible study leader or mentor – I have invested meaningful time, blood, toil, sweat, tears, and prayers into. I can’t say I made any big sacrifices in doing so, but I can say that I earnestly tried to plant and nurture a seed in the hopes that it would grow and bring glory to God.
Many years removed from seeing many of these people on a regular basis, I can yet still have a remarkably vivid look-in on their lives, thanks to the wonders of Facebook. And it never ceases to bring me joy – true, deep-in-the-soul joy – when I see that they are persevering in the faith, giving thanks to God, doing good works in His Name.
Again, Facebook is a somewhat shallow look into people’s lives – who knows what other things, good and bad, are going on for folks that are not part of their timeline of posts and photos and links and likes. But if they are putting out there that they are actively walking with God, then at the very least it is the perception they want people to have of them. And I take that as positive, and, as someone who hopes for people to keep on walking in their faith over the long haul, it brings me great joy to see.
I am reading through Paul’s letters in the New Testament. Here is a man who got around, led by God to leave a deep imprint on God’s people wherever he went. You can see the sober tone of his letters to churches he is no longer on regular contact with, ever instructing and warning and exhorting and comforting. And you can see the delight he takes in signs of their continuing in the faith, and the delight he takes in them as people.
I simultaneously relate and don’t relate to Paul. I experience that same delight when I see people doing well in their faith. And yet I haven’t made nearly the same investment, commitment, or sacrifice. I should. Because there’s more joy to be had.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. - Paul to the church in Philippi (Philippians 1:3-11)