Summary: In a day and age where people evaluate each other by what they know, God has revealed to men and women the privilege of being known by someone.
The Greatest Gift of All Time: To Be Known By Someone
Theme: Friendship with God and Others
Text: 2 Timothy 1:1-18
Time: Sunday Morning March 11, 2001
Question: Have we realized this Greatest Gift?
In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel The Brother’s Karamazov, the story of a drunken debauched Father and his three sons who have been dislodged from each other most of their childhood now come back together to try and forge a relationship out of the great dysfunctional family they were raised in: Listen to the conversation between two of the brothers - Ivan - the middle brother who is typically in limbo as far as life is concerned and an agnostic - and Alyosha - the youngest who is a novitiate in the monestary and a believer in God - the scene takes place in a tavern not too far from their paternal home:
Ivan says to Alyosha, “To ask me, ‘what do you believe, or don’t believe at all? That’s what your eyes have been meaning for these three months, haven’t they?”
“Perhaps so,” smiled Alyosha. “You are not laughing at me, now, Ivan?”
“Me laughing! I don’t want to wound my little brother who has been watching me with such expectation for three months. Alyosha, look straight at me! Of course I am just such a little boy as you are, only not a novice. And what have Russian boys been doing up till now, some of them. I mean? In this stinking tavern, for instance, here, they meet and sit down in a corner. They’ve never met in their lives before and, when they go out of the tavern, they won’t meet again for forty years. And what do they talk about in that momentary halt in the tavern? Of the eternal questions, of the existence of God and immortality. And those who do not believe in God talk of socialism or anarchism, of the transformation of all humanity on a new pattern, so that it all comes to the same, they’re the same questions turned inside out. And masses, masses of the most original Russian boys do nothing but talk of the eternal questions! Isn’t it so?”
“Yes, for real Russians the questions of God’s existence and of immortality, or, as you say, the same question turned inside out, come first and foremost, of course, and so they should,” said Alyosha, still watching his brother with the same gentle and inquiring smile.
“Well, Alyosha, it’s sometimes very unwise to be a Russian at all, but anything stupider than the way Russian boys spend their time one can hardly imagine. But there’s one Russian boy called Alyosha I am awfully fond of.”
“How nicely you put that in!” Alyosha laughed suddenly.
“Well, tell me where to begin, give your orders. The existence of God, eh?”
“Begin where you like. You declared yesterday at father’s that there was no God.” Alyosha looked searchingly at his brother.
“I said that yesterday at dinner on purpose to tease you and I saw your eyes glow. But now I’ve no objection to discussing it with you, and I say so very seriously. I want to be friends with you Alyosha, for I have no friends and want to try it. Well, only fancy, perhaps I too accept God,” laughed Ivan, “that’s a surprise for you, isn’t it?”
“Yes, of course, if you are not joking now.” Alyosha exclaimed!
The disire for friendship goes hand in hand with accepting the reality of God in life! The Greatest gift given to us is the opportunity to be known by someone. The reason the world has difficulty accepting that there is a God in this world is because they are alone - There is a connection here in this story that emphasizes the deep need to be wanted - desired by another!
*Now I want to read you another conversation - well at least one side of it - notice the key element of friendship that empowers Paul to be confident that he is known by God and in that relationship also known by others as well.
This is the second time he writes to Timothy knowing that his jail sentence will probably end in death. In 2 Timothy 1:1-18 we read:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God in keeping with the promise of life that Jesus conveys - To Timothy, my son, Grace, mercy and peace to you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I’m so thankful to the God I serve, as my forefathers did, having my conscience clear as I constantly remember you in prayer night and day. I remember your tears and I desire to see you so that I may be full of joy. I remember your sincere faith which I saw in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am convinced is in you as well.