Sometimes I am hit pretty hard when I read the Bible. It slaps me around as I realize I need to change some of the ways I relate to other people. I’m no poster boy for sainthood but I think I’m pretty good – then wham, Scripture shakes me out of my slumber. Such was today’s reading.
Paul tell the Philippi church they are to be commended for sharing with his trouble.
Now those who know me realize I am a warm, cuddly teddy bear … okay, maybe not too cuddly, or warm, or … never mind. I do care about people. I will give, or help, or try to be there for people who need help. But sharing with others in such a way seems to leave me vulnerable, takes me out of my comfort zone, and costs more than I normally want to give.
But this said ‘share with’ … as in not just give but get down and messy with someone, taking up our own discomfort and affliction just by helping them. The word is from the root word Koinonia – a sharing of lives and hearts together, a fellowship deeper then mere casual acquaintance.
The Philippians were already suffering – yet they took upon themselves to share with Paul – an attitude and actions that show sacrifice. (Philippians 4.14)
Paul is probably referring to money here, but the principle is much broader – for elsewhere he tells us to bear one another’s burdens.
So here’s my personal challenge. I see people hurting (loss of loved one, loneliness, care taking of an elderly lived one, family crisis, spiritual struggle and doubt, health, etc.) I want to help, but I often do it reservedly. I need to have God’s heart – God’s vision for people – and trust Him more.
I can’t be all thins to all people – that’s His job. But maybe there is one out there that the Lord want to use me in sharing their load of affliction they are bearing.
How about you? Are you willing to really share in someone’s affliction? I mean, really share? Think about it.
God, I need to be more like you – humbly seeing and reaching out to those who need me. Help me to get out of my comfort zone. I know I can’t be that for everyone – but Lord, today maybe, show me at least one with whom You want me to share with using my time, my treasures, my talents … or more directly, myself.