THINK: When Jesus left the earth and told His followers to take His message throughout the world (Matthew 28:16; Mark 16:15), He was not simply offering a good suggestion; He was issuing a direct command. And that command was not just for a select few ministers or missionaries. Jesus gives all of His followers - individually and as a church - the privilege and responsibility to spread His message of forgiveness, hope and new life throughout their communities and around the world. The task is huge, but Jesus hasn't left us to accomplish it on our own. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us for the mission, and He also links us with other Christians. Still, each one of us must take indi- vidual responsibility for his or her contribution. Only a minority of Christians will be called to be full-time missionaries or evangelists, but all are called to support the missions endeavor through prayer, supplies, finances and hospitality.
RESPOND: What does God want every aspect of our lives to reflect and demonstrate? (See 1:2 note.) In what ways do the life and personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ provide for physical as well as spiritual needs? What are the implications of John's prayer "that all may go well with you"? (See 1:2 note, sub point 1.) What's God's part and what's your part in making provision for your life? (See 1:2 note, sub point 2.) How does this involve faith and trust in God? Does all of this mean that God never intends for us to experience suffering or times of need? Why or why not? (See 1:2 note, sub point 3.) Why might we experience difficult circumstances or health issues? What can we learn through such times? Does good spiritual health ensure good physical health and material blessing? Why or why not? (See 1:2 note, sub points 4 & 5.) Does good physical health and material blessings prove that one is spiritually healthy? Why or why not? What must we do when trouble and adversity come our way? How was Gaius being faithful in regard to others? (See 1:5 note.) How was his faithfulness promoting ministry and helping to spread the message of Christ? What motivated Gaius' faithfulness? How did his treatment of others reflect love and devotion toward God? What does it mean to send people on their way "in a manner worthy of God"? (See 1:6 note.) What kinds of sacrifices might this involve and what opportunity does this provide for all of God's people? What does it mean that ministers went out "for the sake of the Name"? (See 1:7 first note.) What's the significance of referring to Jesus in this way? Why do Christian missionaries rely on churches for support, rather than taking support from those among whom they serve? (See 1:7 second note.) Why is this appropriate? How does this allow us to partner with ministries and to serve Jesus himself more effectively? What does it mean that Diotrephes "loves to be first"? (See 1:9 note.) How can such a prideful at- titude affect an individual, a church and its ministries? Why does John remind us, "do not imitate what is evil but what is good"? (See 1:11 note.) In what ways do Christians need to be particularly cautious in this regard, even though they may not intend to do evil? How can we ensure that our behavior honors God and promotes His purposes?
PRAY: Pray that Christ will be honored in every aspect of your life - whether through blessing or adversity. Give God thanks for providing for your needs and for teaching you to depend on Him at all times. Ask the Lord to help you take advantage of opportunities to spread His message by contributing to worthy ministries through prayer and material support. Pray for specific missionaries and evangelists that you know or that your church supports. (Refer to the "Praying for Missionaries" section on p. 2280.)
ACT: Read the article on Campus Missions Commitment to GIVE, p. 1676. Also, review pages 2279-2280 of the Campus Missions Training Helps. Select and implement at least one specific missions-supporting idea.