1 Thessalonians 2:8-12. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us….. just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
I spend at least an hour every day praying for the people in JBC, those who are regulars, visitors, and irregulars. With most I find them on Facebook and put pictures in my prayer journal and read about their life. I enter in information from prayer requests, observations, and conversations about health, marriage, kids, trials, jobs, finances, and especially spiritual condition. In the process of praying at least weekly for every person in my prayer journal I become very emotionally attached even if I don’t spend a lot of time with them or know them well. I rejoice in my praying over victories and growth, I grieve over trials, I agonize over backsliding and lukewarmness, and I pray with great fervency because of observed sin. Sometimes after a long season of praying pleading with God to work in people’s lives I get a bit of a chest ache. Someday when I get to heaven and see everything clearly, I am pretty sure the hour each day I spend praying will have been my greatest contribution to God’s work.
With the nature of our culture and people in our day we all make lots of changes, and one of those changes is people start attending church, stop attending church, come faithfully, stop attending faithfully, stop altogether, go to another church, move to another city or State, get upset at me, or get upset at God. When people just drop out of my life with no word of explanation, or a good bye, it is quite painful. It isn’t a possessive thing, or a loyalty thing, it is a relational thing. I am sure most who move, choose to go to another church, or just drop church think that I barely notice them or think about them, so they assume it is no big deal to me, but it is a big deal. A note, an email, or text would be nice and thoughtful instead of nothing.