a mother's greatest joy

May 9-13


A Mother’s Greatest Joy

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” – 3 John 1-4 (ESV)

A young man was walking through a supermarket to pick up a few things when he noticed a little old lady following him around. Thinking nothing of it, he ignored her and continued on. Finally, he went to the checkout line, but she got in front of him. “Pardon me, sonny,” she said, “I’m sorry if my staring at you has made you feel uncomfortable. It’s just that you look just like my son, who I haven’t seen in a long time.” “That’s a shame,” replied the young man, “is there anything I can do for you?” “Yes,” she said, “as I’m leaving, can you say ‘Goodbye, Mother!’ It would make me feel so much better.” “Sure,” answered the young man. As the old woman was leaving, he called out, “Goodbye, Mother!” She waved and blew him a kiss. As he stepped up to the checkout counter, he saw that his total was $127.50. “How can that be?” he asked, “I only purchased a few things!” “Your mother said that you would pay for her,” said the clerk.

She was not his mother and John was not the mother of Gaius in 3 John. However, John is very likely a spiritual father to Gaius. Whatever the case is, John is delighting in Gaius’ life and faithfulness. John writes is 3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Lord.” The same things that brought John joy are the things that bring godly mothers joy. We will take the week to review some of the sources of joy from this passage.


“To walk in truth” means to live consistent with the truth you believe. Is your lifestyle consistent with what you claim to believe spiritually?


Thank God for the people who have been spiritual parents in your life. Ask God to grow the consistency between what you claim to believe and how you live.



Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. – 3 John 2 (ESV)

Amy Chua made The New York Times bestseller list for her book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is a memoir of her journey in being a strict parent. Amy writes, ”A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids.” She lists some of the things her children were never allowed to do: – attend a sleepover – have a playdate – be in a school play – watch TV or play a computer game – get any grade less than an A – not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama – and play any instrument other than the piano or violin. That’s pretty strict.

Most mothers want their kids to be successful and prosper but that isn’t necessarily the same type of prosperity God desires. John writes, “I pray that all may go well with you.” Some translations say that you may “prosper.” The word for prosper (go well) literally means “to have a good journey.” It’s the desire to see you live a good life. We should always remember that God wants our best and plans only good for us. This may or may not include material blessings in this world but it always includes spiritual blessings and spiritual growth.


How did your parents define success when you were growing up? How do you think the way God defines success differs from how the world defines success?


Thank God for the ways He has caused you to prosper. Ask God to continue to help you prosper in the areas that matter the most to Him.


Physically Healthy

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good healthas it goes well with your soul. – 3 John 3 (ESV)

A married couple had lived very good, and also very healthy lives. They die, and go to heaven. As they are walking along, marveling at the paradise around them, the wife turns to her husband and says, “Wow. I never knew heaven was going to be as good as this!” “Yeah,” says her husband. “And just think, if you hadn’t made me eat all that oat bran, we could have gotten here a lot sooner!”

One of the areas that John prays for Gaius is for his physical health. Most likely, Gaius had some sort of physical ailment. John is continuing the thought of wanting things to “go well” or “prosper” for Gaius and this includes physical health. Just like any good parent would want their kids to be physically healthy and grow, so too John wants that for Gaius. What we do with our bodies matters to God.


How should these two verses shape our lifestyle choices? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 10:31,  “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”


Thank God for choosing your body as His temple. Ask God to show you anything you are doing with your “temple” that isn’t glorifying Him.


Spiritually Healthy

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. – 3 John 2 (ESV)

A little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday School presentation. His mother was in the front row to prompt him. She gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it did not help. Her son’s memory was blank. Finally, she leaned forward and whispered the cue, “I am the light of the world.” The child beamed and with great feeling and a loud clear voice said, “My mother is the light of the world.” – Bits and Pieces

Moms do what they can to help their kids to do well in every area of life. John also wanted to see Gaius do well in every area of life. At the end of verse three, John tied good physical health with Gaius’ good spiritual health. Gaius’ spiritual health was so good that John prays he would be as physically healthy as he is spiritually. What encouragement! Many Christians would be desperately ill if their physical health was instantly in the same state as their spiritual health.


One measure of spiritual health is spiritual fruit. Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.” Which fruit is healthy in your life and which fruit needs some attention?


Praise God for the spiritual fruit that His presence in your life produces. Pray that as you abide in Jesus you could see even more fruit produced in your life.


Relationally Healthy

For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth as indeed you are walking in the truth. – 3 John 3 (ESV)

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake; I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Okay; Ryan, you be Jesus!”

John knew that Gaius walked in truth because others came and testified of the truth that was in Gaius. His walk of truth was noticed by others, and they could talk about it because they saw it in how He lived. The book of 1 John talks about the evidence of someone who is in Christ. One of the biggest pieces of evidence is that they love others well. If the love of God is in us, it will cause us to love others.


It has been said that a Christian never has the privilege of being unkind. In what ways do you agree or disagree with that statement? How do you believe a Christian should be uniquely different in how we relate to people? See John 13:35.


Praise God for giving you His Spirit so you can live out your faith. Pray that others will know that you are a Christian by your love.