"I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation
and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ..."
I was brought up being told that I had to share. I really didn't mind sharing. I have never been that much of a hoarder. However, to this day there is one thing that I don't like to share, and my family can tell you very quickly what it is. When we have some ice cream in the house, I love to make me a bowl and enjoy it. Ice cream is one of those joys of life that just can't be replaced by anything else. For some reason, though, my ice cream bowl always seems to attract every one. When Susan and I were first married, she tried to just share mine instead of getting her own. I finally told her that I would make her very own bowl if she would just leave mine alone. Then the children came along and would stand around my chair as I would eat my ice cream with their mouths open like baby birds. They know better now. The other night I looked down at my feet and there stood the dog. Of course, she didn't get any. My ice cream bowl is sacred. I will share every thing else, just leave that alone.
In my twisted and strange mind I thought about that when I read this passage. John was saying to the churches that received these letters that they needed to share. What they were going to share was far different than ice cream though. They were sharing with him in three spiritual things. Notice that they were sharing this by relationship (brother) and it seems by choice (companion). John and these churches were identifying together for Christ no matter what it may cost them. They were first sharing in tribulations. Jesus told His disciples that in this world they would face troubles, and they did. Each of them were martyred for the cause of Christ. The early church suffered greatly at the hands of the enemy. Even today many are persecuted for their stand with Christ. We share with them in that suffering through prayer and encouragement not knowing what tomorrow holds for our own lives and the freedoms that we enjoy in our own country. Secondly, John shared with the churches a kingdom. This kingdom is one that is not made with hands. A kingdom is a place of authority and power. It is only as good however as the King. We thankfully serve together the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is supreme and above all, and we share this kingdom with Him and with one another. One day we will rule and reign alongside of Christ, but now we are to have dominion and authority over sin and hell through His name. Thirdly, we share in the hope (patience) of Jesus Christ. We will face tribulations. We do live in anticipation of that great Kingdom to come. However, we do not hope in vain. Our hope is in Christ Who will fulfill each and ever promise He has made. He told us that if it was not so He wouldn't have told us. There is a future destiny for the children of God, and we will share that joy for all eternity. We will live in peace together with Him. There will be no death, sorrow, tears, or parting. Eternity with Christ and all of its joys will be shared with our brothers and sisters and most of all with our mighty and eternal God. Who knows? Maybe by then I will be humble enough to even share my ice cream.
May you share in the joy of hope with your fellow believers today!