Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Pastor's Joy

3 John 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

4 μειζοτέραν τούτων οὐκ ἔχω χαράν, ἵνα ἀκούω τὰ ἐμὰ τέκνα ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ περιπατοῦντα.

John is telling Gaius here that his greatest joy is that his spiritual children are walking in the truth. He uses a comparative adjective  μειζοτέραν to explain this. That is where we get the "than" in English since it is difficult to express this in Greek. The first clause is something like, "I do not have greater joy than this" which is connected to the ἵνα clause. What gives him such great joy? He loves to hear that his children are walking in the truth. Note that he uses the participle περιπατοῦντα, which suggests that he is particularly glad to hear that his children are in a general, continuous state of walking in the truth.

What does this mean for us? It means that we need to walk in the truth. How do we know what the truth it? We learn it by reading, studying, and memorizing God's Word. That's the truth. How do we bless and honor our pastors? Letting them use your beach house for the week is a nice thing, but what they want more than anything is to hear about you walking in the truth.

As someone who is getting ready to go into ministry I can testify to this. I want to see God glorified in changed lives. I know that God's Word is powerful and active. I know that the Holy Spirit transforms hearts. I am fine with someone who wants to apply Galatians 6:6 to me in an appropriate way, but I would much prefer that someone note this verse if they really want to honor me for anything they may have learned.

Any pastors out there who want to comment on this? Is there any greater joy than to hear that your people are walking in the truth?

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