There were a number of times that the Apostle Paul was separated from other Christians who were of great support and comfort to him. We know about the time mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:2. But that was not the only time Paul was left alone when he really longed to be with the saints. In 2 Corinthians 2 he mentions another such time, but just listen to what he says about it all!
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.2 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
Do you understand what he is saying? Paul erupted in thanksgiving to God it a time which the previous verse describes as “my spirit was not at rest because I could not find my brother Titus there”. Then, “But thanks be to God”. The deep sense of spiritual loneliness was an occasion to think of something that made Paul intensely thankful to God.
That is surely a very timely thought for us. There is something so profoundly wonderful, that even the disappointment of not being with one another cannot keep our spirit’s down. There is a normal Christian duty that makes even the loneliest time a public demonstration of victory. It is this: God uses us to spread the knowledge of Him everywhere.
Think of it, when you are with the saints, you are with those who know about God. In fact, our fellowship is defined by sharing in the knowledge of God that we have. But, when we are not with the saints, and are unable to be with them as we normally are, then we are vividly reminded that so many have no true knowledge of God at all. This doesn’t require of us all to become street preachers, but it does require of us to make Him known to others.
Perhaps you can think of the knowledge of God as an air-freshener—something particularly welcome when a foul odour is filling the air. So also, we are the deliverers of the knowledge of God to those who are still living without Him. When absent from the saints, we have a duty to the unbelieving. It is a duty as pleasant as spraying air freshener to improve the room.
So, go, be a friendly neighbour, care for the needy, give to the poor, live holy, refrain from anger, speak kindly, show grace, smile. Be like an air freshener dispenser in the room. Let people know that you know God.