4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6
Paul needed a firsthand report to validate his feelings toward the Thessalonians. Paul knew what had happened while they were there, but he needed to hear it from them. Timothy’s answer was in the affirmative.
In 2021, we think nothing of near instant communication. Back then, though, communication was painfully slow. First the event/stay, a departure, Timothy went personally and returned, finding someone who knew how to write a letter, then having a courier deliver the letter (despite the problems of the U.S. Postal Service, it’s usually much faster than a courier walking or riding a horse or donkey to a destination…usually), and letter is received. To reply, it was a little simpler but still time consuming. Weeks or months go by before letters were delivered.
Today, we can send an email and the person will receive it upon opening the email. If the person’s at a computer, the transaction could be less than a minute.
I recall the first time I heard about email. I was working for a Russian bank in Chicago in 1995 or so. An accounting firm representative came up from Indianapolis and he took me out to lunch (when he found out no one else was in the office that day). In our conversation, he was talking about his internal electronic mailing system at work. I was fascinated by it but couldn’t quite understand how it all worked.
Twenty-five years later, it’s hard to imagine life without it.
We have the technology to make differences in people’s lives. We can write them and affirm their importance and relevance to us. We can discuss complicated and well thought out doctrinal treatises. We can share our feelings about events that occurred and have those emotions come through on the other end.
How are you using email, texting, and the phones today? Are you careful what you say, knowing that people can’t really see you when you’re writing or talking so things can get distorted or misinterpreted? Are you using the best means for context. In other words, if it’s time critical, pick up the phone. If the message is more critical, don’t text. If you haven’t seen someone in a while, write or call.
We have powerful tools at our disposal to encourage others in this journey we’re on. Encourage someone today out of the blue with a text. It might even start a longer conversation. And who knows, maybe you can rekindle that old friendship again.