Brothers and sisters, we were separated from you for a while physically but not in our hearts. We made every effort in our desire to see you again face-to-face. We wanted to come to you—I, Paul, tried over and over again—and Satan stopped us. What is our hope, joy, or crown that we can brag about in front of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Isn’t it all of you? You are our glory and joy! (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 CEB)
Paul just wants to be with his brothers and sisters in Christ. He wants to know first-hand how they’re really doing. He so has them in his heart that when he chooses a word describe his desire to be with them, he chooses the word he uses to describe his desire to be with the Lord (cf. Phil. 1:23 – epithymia).
That’s what our relationships are to be like within our church family. That’s what real Christian love is about. That’s what it means to no longer live for yourself, but to live for Christ and others.
God my Father, in the name of Jesus and because of his great love for us, daily grow in me more of this sort of love for all of your people. Amen.