“Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica -- Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:10-11)
Do you know someone that lacks the sense to come in out of the rain? That was I as a child (and long after). I can still hear my mother’s voice calling to me whenever I played outside during a downpour, "Dennis Ray, you come in out of that rain RIGHT NOW."
Rain didn’t really bother me back then. Thunder and lightning, however, were a different story. There was one occasion in which I was walking home as a severe thunderstorm approached. I was still 4-5 blocks away when lightning struck nearby and I was shaken by the deafening thunder. From that point my feet barely touched the ground until I arrived safely at home, my “shelter” from the storm.
After the "severe storms" we have experienced as a result of the corona virus, along with recent riots connected with the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota, it’s a genuine relief to be "home" again! We’ve all heard the expression, "There’s no place like home". Assembling again with my church family following an 11-week suspension of services reminds me of HOW TRUE that is.
Although HEAVEN is our permanent home, God intended for the church to be our EARTHLY respite from the storms of life. Early Christians risked imprisonment, torture and even death to assemble regularly with other believers. God repeatedly reminds us of the necessity to do so:
· “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25)
· “…exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13)
Why did the apostle Paul plead with Timothy “to come to me QUICKLY..." (2 Tim. 4:10)? He was practically alone. "Storms" were raging around him, and his days were quickly coming to an end. Paul craved a “shelter” - the companionship and encouragement of other Christians.
Thank God that we are meeting together again. It feels wonderful to come in out of the rain.
Jesus, always Jesus!