Let’s not overlook the medium by which Paul communicated with Timothy. He wrote him a letter. Now obviously the modern methods of communication were unavailable to the apostle, yet I find it important that Paul (humanly speaking) took the time to carefully choose his words of instruction when he wrote to Timothy.
In this age of a dominant visual and verbal communication, the written word has taken a back seat. In fact, the art of letter writing has become passé to many. Think though for a moment about how encouraging it is to receive personal mail. I’m not speaking now of email or text messages, although they can certainly be encouraging in their place. I’m speaking about the unique feeling one has when he finds that hand written letter or card interspersed among the daily fare of bills, junk mail, and business-related correspondence.
Something about a handwritten note conveys the warmth and personality of its writer. In the handwriting itself there seems to be the imbedding of the writer’s feelings. Have you ever saved a note or a card? Sure you have. In fact, that very thought evokes bad memories in my marriage!
Years ago when Wanda and I were moving from Indiana to Connecticut, we (read here, I) decided to forego packing what had accumulated in our basement storage bin. “We’ll never need that junk!” I remember thinking. “We haven’t used whatever is down there forever, so I’m not packing it!” said I to my flu-stricken young wife. It wasn’t until sometime after we had resettled in Connecticut that we realized that all of the love letters I had written to Wanda were among that “junk.” Now I certainly do not claim to be a poet, and I’m sure that those love letters wouldn’t be fit to publish, but they meant the world to Wanda. While no one else may ever have read those letters (except for humorous value), my wife most certainly would have read them.
Please do not underestimate the power of the written word when it comes to impacting the lives of young people. Handwritten notes and cards make a difference and communicate care and concern to the reader. No teenager in your youth group should have a birthday without receiving a handwritten card and note. Youth leaders who will take the time to mail 10-15 letters or cards a week will make an inestimable difference in the lives of their teens.
Notes tend to be saved and reread many times over. Some of them will find their homes in a scrapbook or hope chest (girls). Some will no doubt eventually be discarded only to find a home in the trash can (boys). But be assured that all of them will find a home in the heart of a teenager (boy or girl).
You might have to dole out $.44 for a stamp. You might not have the convenience of a spell checker. You might have handwriting that would fail 3rd grade penmanship. But write anyway! You’ll be glad you did. So will they.