By: Alan Harvey
Posted: March 5, 2016
Category: Daily Devotional
So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves because you have become very dear to us. I Thessalonians 2:8 (NRSV)
Small groups have become quite popular regardless of the circumstance, interest or topic that draws people together. Naturally at the first gathering, people are guarded about how much personal information they want to share with people they have met for the first time or have not known for long. This is as it should be because a trust level needs to develop and this takes time. Being too eager to share oneself with others can be off putting. Being reluctant to share oneself with others once relationships begin to form distances that person from the group. Yes, sharing ourselves with others is important for building relationships.
In the fall semester of our junior year at Columbia Seminary, Steve Negley and I found ourselves put into just such a small group in a class known as Introduction to the Ministry. Each group had a seminary professor who served as a Moderator/Convener. Steve and I were not in the same group and we had not known some of these people very long and others we had only recently met. That class had us do a considerable amount of introspection and of course, we were encouraged to share ourselves. As in the description above, some were very eager, others reluctant, and the rest of us were somewhere in-between … wanting to share some of ourselves and build relationships with member of our class.
As we consider the Apostle Paul, he might have become comfortable enough with the Thessalonian Christians to share with them the story of his conversion. (Acts 9:1-19) He might have become comfortable enough to share the good and the bad of his life, as found in Philippians 3:5-6 or Galatians 1:13-14, particularly his previous persecution of the church. He might have become comfortable enough with them to share his own personal struggle as he had with the Corinthians in his second letter to them. (12:7-10)
We take risks when we share with others. Will they still like us? Will they judge us? Will they laugh or make fun of us? It is good to be able to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. It is a blessing when we feel comfortable enough with others to share how God has blessed us and what God has done/is doing in our lives.
O God, Your Son Jesus gave Himself for us by dying on the cross for our sins. We are invited to share ourselves with others. Help us to be mindful of Christ’s sacrifice and to be generous in sharing ourselves with others so that we may become more Christlike. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.