May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT)
I like postcards. For Christmas this year I received a total of 230 postcards as gifts. There’s the set of 100 classic covers from Vanity Fair. Then the set of 100 covers from Star Wars comic books. Finally, I received the set of 30 postcards featuring travel related photographs. I love it. I’m a postcard guy.
Sending a personal card is always and will forever be more personal, intimate and meaningful than electronic communication.
A postcard is the snail-mail version of Twitter. It forces you to refine what you have to say to a zen like essence, but without being so black and white about it. With a postcard, you can write really small and fit more in when you need to do so.
It’s a simple gift. Everyone loves getting something personal in the mail.
Perhaps that’s part of the value for me in postcards. The further I get in the journey the more I appreciate the power of being able to package enormous truths in small packages. I like people who can powerfully get their message across in a well crafted, postcard-like, summary. I find myself having less and less patience for those who talk or write incessantly without really saying anything.
Which, is why the verse above jumped off the page at me this morning. It is such a great example of packing a lot of life lesson in postcard-like fashion: Love and endurance. Say what you will, this journey boils down to love and endurance.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a postcard to write.
Dear brothers and sisters,we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NLT)
“How am I doing?”
As a child growing up, I wanted to know the answer to that question. School gave me regular feedback in the form of grades to help gauge where I was doing well and where I needed to put in extra work. When I entered the work force I soon learned that employers often built in regular feedback loops to help employees know how they were doing in their jobs. Much of the work I do today is part of my clients process of giving employees regular feedback regarding the quality of the service they are delivering to customers.
When it comes to our spiritual lives, there are precious few feedback loops. If I want feedback on how I’m doing in my spiritual journey I need to actively seek it out. It is usually going to come out of some kind of friendship that grows deep enough to bear the fruit of loving transparency, honesty, and accountability.
I thought about that as I read the verse above from today’s chapter. Paul’s gratitude for the Jesus followers in Thessalonica was spurred by two visible traits. First, their faith was flourishing. Second, their love for one another was growing. What a good litmus test for spiritual growth.
Is my faith flourishing? How so? In what ways? What’s the evidence?
Is my love for others growing? How so? In what ways? What’s the evidence?
Today, I’m asking God to help me determine where I’m at, how I’m doing, and where I need to grow.