Heaven recognized that the written word can bring joy to those who read it. John had personal knowledge about Jesus and wrote about the joy it brought him. “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us . . . And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:3-4). John wanted others to share in the joy he had because of his personal knowledge of Jesus and wrote to them so that their joy might be full.
However, even John realized that there was a higher level of joy. When he wrote his second epistle it was much shorter. At the end of it he gives an astonishing revelation about a greater joy than one which comes from simply reading his words. “Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full” (2 John 12). He made a conscious choice not to write words that might bring joy, but to wait until he could speak with them face to face realizing that greater joy would result.
This is a principle Christians must not overlook in our world filled with technology. Think of how much of our communication with others is impersonal. Be honest, how do you feel when you are phoning to get personal attention and you are confronted with “Press one” or “Press two”? When you press the appropriate number you hear another set of instructions about other numbers to press. Whatever happened to talking to a human being!
The same situation is found in widespread use of answering machines. You leave a message because the opportunity is there, but you never know if it is received or more importantly if it is understood.
Then consider how much communication is centered around text messaging and e-mails. Is there anything more impersonal than a message sent via these methods, especially if you know it may have been sent in a similar form to others?
I am thankful for all that we have to assist us using technology—for example, this very bulletin! Such advancement has changed our world. However, it has removed the personal touch from many relationships.
Now think about what John said about a higher way to bring joy to others. Christianity, by its very nature, is personal and we must make sure that we bring greater joy to others, personally.