8: For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,
10: so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
11: filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Verse 8 gives a picture of Paul that belies what his critics would make him--stern, distant, nearly misanthropic. We hear and see Paul yearning for the companionship of those who love the Lord. How sweet it is to be with and among those who truly love the Lord. There is no better company, no better conversation than that which centers on the Lord himself and revolves around Him as the center. To what point any conversation that does not bring us closer to the Lord? Why talk at all if we are not yearning for the truth? Paul yearns for the support and comfort of being among those whose spirit is strong, whose faith is a bulwark against the ravages of the world. He longs to be once again among those who have most enthusiastically supported his mission in the world. And this yearning is natural for all of us. Our chief desire should be to be among those who love the Lord. And acting upon this desire, we should work to be certain that wherever we are, there are those who are ardent friends of the Lord. This, then, is part of the call to evangelism. Wherever there is love of the Lord, we are at home. We are called to leave home frequently and to make a new home wherever we should be brought. Our joy and delight is in the presence of the Lord and where people love Him, He is present. (For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Mt. 18:20)
Enough for the moment--I will extend reflection on these verses somewhat later. Scripture is indeed a fountain. A single verse of it can bring to mind the million things God wishes to tell the believer. However, I see little cause for you all to exposed to all the million things that run through my head. (That collective sigh of relief sounded like Charley at his peak.)