out of sight, out of mind
- proverb You soon forget people or things that are no longer visible or present.
‘Not so,’ responds the Apostle Paul. ‘Let me tell you how closely we were knit to the young believers in Thessalonica. Being forced to leave was equivalent to being torn apart. When will be reunited?’
“But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, did again and again–but Satan stopped us. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thess. 2:17-20)
1. Brothers – We are family having all been adopted by the same Father. ‘Blood is thicker than water,’ may be the addage of some families who manifest their family loyalties. For Christ followers, the blood of Christ is the bonding agent, having satisfied God’s wrath and reconciled us to Him and to each other.
2. Our hope, joy, crown and glory – Our future reunion will be amazing when we marvel at what God has done and how He used people to introduce us to Christ and to coach us in our walk with Him. We will share in the reward of faithful servants and will be reunited forever when Jesus comes again.
Satan stopped us. He loves to thwart plans and detests unity among God’s people. He delights in division and rejoices in broken lives, marriages, churches and nations. He is the author of confusion and God, at times, permits our enemy to interfere. Look at the story of Job, or consider how Satan desired to sift the disciples like wheat (Luke 22:31,32).
How can we possibly forget those who invested in us and those lives in whom we invested? Some planted, others watered, but God gave the increase. Christianity is a relational faith and those who excuse themselves as not being ‘people persons’ aren’t exempt from building deep committed mutually edifying relationships within the body of Christ.
The Thessalonians remained in Paul’s thoughts. He made every effort to reconnect with them. If no immediate reunion was possible, he still took comfort in a future day when all of God’s children will be gathered home.
The hymn writer picked this up with the words, When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!
The question is, are you part of the family of God? Do you have a genuine relationship with God and with God’s people? Let’s invest deeply into the lives of others, sharing with them in the fellowship which has been made possible because of Jesus Christ. Let’s be peacemakers. Let’s make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. Let’s use every means possible to stay connected with God’s people around the world. What a great family of God reunion awaits. For the true Christian, out of sight does not mean out of mind.
William Dunkerley wrote the following words for the Pageant of Darkness and Light at the London Missionary Society’s exhibition “The Orient in London,” which ran from 1908 to 1914. Many hymnals credit the words to John Oxenham, Dunkerley’s pseudonym.
In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.
In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord,
Close binding humankind.
Join hands, then, members of the faith,
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves my Father as His child
Is surely kin to me.
In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christly souls are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide earth.