Nothing gives me greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (v.4)
Third John is addressed from the “Elder” again to a man named “Gaius” in an unnamed church. Gaius represents a contingent in this church, unlike the power-monger Diotrephes, who look to John as their teacher and spiritual father. As he approaches the end of this life, John wants more than anything to know that his “children” are being faithful to all he has taught them and all he has worked for.
As a high school teacher of Bible, I have been known from time to time to call my students my “kids.” They kind of are. I spend more time with them than my own! And by the end of any year, I really end up caring a great deal about my students. They are funny and I love the laughs. They are thoughtful and kind, and one positive affirmation of what we do in class can keep me going for months. I love to see them struggle with an abstract philosophical or theological idea until they understand it and can apply it to their own lives. But my greatest joy is when we meet up a few years after graduation and it is clear they are “walking in the truth.” That makes the long hours, endless grading, hard conferences, and discipling disappointments all worth it in the end.