Gaius, Beloved, thou doest a faithful work in whatsoever thou doest toward them that are brethren and strangers. – John
The name among the Greeks was as common as Tom, Dick and Harry, while among the Romans it was used by eminent persons for their distinctive name, as by the emperor Caligila (Caius Caesar). The New Testament, originally written in Greek, reveals how common the name was among those speaking that language, for it owns four Gaiuses. There was Gaius of Corinth, whom Paul baptized and said was “mine host” and host “of the whole church” there (I Cor. 1:14; Rom. 16:23). Then Gaius of Derbe, with Timothy of Lystra, accompanied Paul with contributions of the churches for relief of the brethren in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4), Gaius of Macedonia was caught with Aristarchus by the Ephesian mob as one of Paul’s accomplices (Acts 19:29). John’s Gaius (III John 1) is not a disciple of Paul’s but one of John’s own converts (v. 4).
The story has it that Christiana and her company, travelers of the Narrow Way, weary from their journey were looking for suitable overnight accommodations. It was late at night. Their good guides led them to the home of Gaius. He was well recommended for his love before the church because he faithfully entertained strangers and pilgrims, and did well in sending them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God. Gaius settled his guests comfortably, and had his cook, Taste-that-which-is-good, as late as it was, to prepare them a supper. Now Gaius was a host who thought it the host’s duty to entertain his guests, while waiting for supper, with a generous flow of talk. Rather the opposite was Mr. Mnason (Acts 21:16) as a host. He believed that the host should start the conversation but allow the guests to take it up and continue it. Also, he was more concerned that this be done while they were eating, and not while awaiting the supper bell. Nonetheless, Gaius was a host deeply concerned for guests who were true strangers and pilgrims in the earth. Both he and Mnason were family men, believing few things more important in life than the family unit. Convinced that the family is of divine origin, they knew that anything tending to mar or destroy it was a direct blow against God and what He had instituted. It was, therefore, their purpose to be of practical aid to Christiana and her family. Gaius counseled her sons to choose heartily their father’s ay, walk in their father’s steps and come to their father’s end. These young men, taught to do just that, responded delightedly that such was their resolve and purpose of heart. Further, Gaius, knowing that a godly family cannot fatally fall although it could be diminished, counseled Christiana to prepare her sons for the meeting of godly young women, to secure themselves wives approved of heaven. There was reason behind this: that the name of Christian never be forgotten in the world. So Gaius suggested that Christiana’s young friend, Mercy, be given to her eldest son, Matthew. Samuel, a younger brother, immediately loved the home of Gaius so much that he blurted out his desire that hey all stay there until Matthew was married to Mercy. About the time this happy union did take place, Gaius gave his daughter Phoebe to James, Matthew’s brother, to wife. Days later, after leaving Gaius, when Mr. Mnason was their host, they were introduced to such good company as Mr. Love-saint, Mr. Dare-not-lie and the host’s lovely daughter, Grace. In process of time, Mnason gave his daughter Grace to young Samuel to marry, and his daughter Martha to Joseph. Thus, finally all Christiana’s sons were married to women of a good stock originating in Antioch (Acts 11:26).
All the New Testament Gaiuses were of that same stock. They were, principally, one-woman men. Gaius was no crude match-maker, but he had a practical loving concern for the young people of the church and the preserving of the Christian family in the earth. His name is connected with true hospitality, and true Christian hospitality consists in throwing open the family circle to let young people get well acquainted with one another in connection with its peace and sweetness. Old Honest, one of the beloved guides of the Zion-bound company, was also deeply concerned that their young people have both good harbor and good company. He agreed with an old saying of a wise man, “Marriage with a good woman is a harbor in the tempest of life; with a bad woman it is a tempest in a harbor.” Mr. Mnason had welcomed them modestly with, “For harbor, you see what it is, bur for good company, that will appear in the trial.” But for these fellowshippers in tribulation it was no great trial to endure one another’s company, for often they would sit up discussing hard texts of Scripture till late at night, as though they could not tell how to part.
At these family gatherings, the young men and women present, the conversation would begin, “You must understand, Mercy and Matthew, how holy the state of matrimony is,” Gaius would caution. “There is great reason for calling it ‘holy matrimony.’ For it is a tie which God instituted in the union of our first parents, a tie so holy that He made it stronger than filial ties. Let me read you this from the little book we all carry. ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.’” Interjecting, Mr. Love-saint said, “Yes, and the ties between husband and wife must be based on pure and holy love, if they are to leave father and mother and cleave to one another. What a tragedy it is when it becomes quite the reverse and a man leaves his wife and cleaves once more to father and mother! What do you think, Brother Dare-not-lie?” “It is my opinion.” That worthy replied, “that one of the saddest things in these days of apostasy is marriage relations not based on pure and holy love. If based on other grounds, it leads to trouble and heartache sooner or later. You all know the old saw, ‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure.’ Being instituted by God and made holy by Him, everything else that might endanger it is to be forsaken for the sake of that relation. Unfaithfulness to marriage vows is the cause of untold misery, sorrow and suffering to family and family life.” Turning to Old Honest, that latter continued, “True; and these ties bind, so that we cannot be unfaithful without being responsible before God, for we must all give an account to Him. When ordained of God, it was a union for life, and death the only dissolution. Whatever breaks up family life ruins the home. We’ve all seen ruined lives and ruined homes. It not only ruins the state, but also the church, the worst ruin of all … Greatheart?” “I would add this,” as Greatheart, “that people no longer have a true sense of family life. People are no longer covenant-minded. It is a wonderful thing, yes, a normal thing, when all in the family know the Lord, when they walk together in the Lord; when father, mother and children go to the house of God and have reverence for Him, and where Christ is in the home and in the lives of all. Where these things are forgotten, you have the seeds of anarchy, strife, trouble and discord. Gaius, what is the next point for our consideration?”
“Just this, brethren: marriage is to be contemplated only in the light of the Word of God, Scripture says, ‘And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but thou shalt go into my country, and to y kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac” (Gn. 24:3,4). Also remember this: ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness?’ (II Cor. 6:14). Should a Christian girl marry a man who is not a Christian? Not according to the divine directive that she may marry ‘only in the Lord.’ If there is a Christian young man, and the girl whom he wishes to marry is an unbeliever, or unsaved, should he marry her? The Word of God forbids it. Should a Protestant marry a Catholic? No, not until they can alike see that it is the Lord Jesus Christ alone who saves by grace, apart from works. It only causes division, discord and the worst kind of trouble in life.”
Speaking up again, Mr. Mnason pointed out that “it was my good friend Paul who emphasized that marrying ‘only in the Lord’ when he said, ‘The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (I Cor. 7:39). The only sanction the Holy Spirit gives on to remarry, in the case of death, is that it is to be in the Lord. Mr. Taste-that-is-good, you haven’t spoken a word tonight! Would you care to speak out of your rich experience?”
“With Gaius’ permission I will, for it is late.” Gaius graciously nodding, he went on. “If the husband thinks one way, and the wife another, what are the children thinking? Unity must be in the home life. The wife, if the husband does not know God, cannot depend on him for help, and will have to be husband as well as wife in the training of the children in the way they should go. The husband, if a Christian and the wife not, will have to be mother as well as father. Both husband and wife must show their walk with God in the home. The godly home, the godly father and mother, and the godly children in that home, are a type of Christ and His church bound together in covenant love. What are we here on this earth for, but to see that our families, now and of the future, be godly centers of covenant faithfulness and abiding love?” Then all quietly arose, Christiana and her boys taking the lead, making their way “up the wooden hill,” the last sound of the night to echo in that living room being Samuel’s response to being prodded on to bed – “Oh, mother, do we have to?”