Day 5: Becoming Less to Become More
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
1Corinthians 10:16-17 ESV
As I drove to work the other day, one of my favorite songs began to play on the radio. I’ve sung it many times.
I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You
I’ll walk the narrow road
’cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace
Will pick me up again
I’ve counted up the cost
Oh I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it
I do not need safety
As much as I need You
But Lord You’re beautiful
I’ll chase You through the pain
I’ll carry my cross
’cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed
Take my all
Take my everything
I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything.
It’s true. I’ve counted the cost of following Jesus and He’s more than worth it. But God was looking for more this particular day. I heard the Spirit whisper, I know you think I’m worth it, but what about my children, the lost, the broken, the stubborn. Are they worth it too?
God asked me a tough question. One I’m still praying He will work in me. I know Jesus is worth it, but those around me…? Well, let’s just say that one is harder. Can I honestly say in the face of being hurt or disappointed by someone, it doesn’t matter because they are worth it?
The way I see it, every time I say someone difficult is worth it, I’m climbing up on a tree and nailing myself there. It doesn’t seem fair. It’s not. Nothing was fair about what Jesus endured because I’m worth it. He paid the price, and sharing means we all must count the cost and decide: Is Jesus worth it? are His children? every person no matter what, are they worth it?
I saw it one Sunday during Communion. A shining silver ribbon, beginning in the sister’s family sitting several rows in front of me, running through everyone kneeling at the rail, and making its way through the people sitting in the pews…
Yes, I have visions at times. They don’t obscure my physical vision. It’s a spiritual manifestation, something seen in my mind, like an overlay on an overhead projector. A mental picture laid over the physical image before me. Only it’s animated.
This vision depicted the truth behind Communion. When we share in the Body of Christ, making ourselves less by taking a part of the one bread and the one cup, we become connected to something much greater. The Holy Spirit joins us as one, in ways we cannot see or fully understand.
When we accept His invitation to Come… share in His body and His blood, we become less in order to become more.
Sharing in fellowship – through our stories, gifts, and what we have – may seem like a loss on the surface. Portioning out our time, energy, making ourselves vulnerable, having less than what we had before. But what happens in the sharing, in the becoming less, is in truth becoming more.
In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul gives an account of the Last Supper. How did Jesus handle the bread? What did He call it?
How did Jesus handle the cup of wine? What did He call it?
What is it that we proclaim when we take part in Communion?
When we share in what Jesus offers. The Bread. The Cup. We become less to become so much more. Communion, the word the church chose to name this sacrament Jesus gave His disciples, literally means an act or instance of sharing (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition). Jesus shares Himself with us so we may have forgiveness and eternal life (Matthew 26:26-28, John 3:16). Life resurrected from the penalty of death caused by sin entering the world.
He says: Do this in remembrance of Me.
In response to what He’s done for us – broken His body, poured out His blood, sharing His life with all who come – we are called to share our lives, our stories, all we have, as members of His Kingdom and His ministry to the world. His ministry of bringing dead things to life, wholeness to the broken, healing to the sick.
Read Luke 4:16-21
After Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, what did He say about the passage He read?
What does the passage tell us about Jesus’s ministry?
How is it accomplished?
We remember Jesus in the world, proclaim His death until He returns, by taking our part in His ministry via the Holy Spirit, just like He did. He came so we might be restored into relationship with Him and receive the Holy Spirit to empower us to continue what He began.
Ann Voskamp, in her book The Broken Way, breaks down the word remember into its root words: re-member. When we participate in Communion with Jesus, sharing in His body and blood, we are called to re-member Him in the world.
Re-membering Him is to take all the pieces torn from the one bread, all the swallows taken from the one cup, and use them to build up His body – the church – through sharing. Breaking off pieces of our own lives for others so they might live, know His forgiveness, be healed, and made whole.
When others see our sacrifice of sharing, eyes are opened to see Him. Those who see may be moved to receive Him. And in turn, begin sharing their lives with Jesus. Sharing in His suffering for others, proclaiming the meaning of His death: Life resurrected!
Are you willing to suffer, proclaim His death, by suffering for and with others? sharing your time with someone in need? entering into another’s suffering? weeping with them? hearing their ugly stories, as well as sharing yours, to lessen their loneliness? their fear? sharing what you have? suffering with less? with inconvenience? so others may have more?
We are called to share in His suffering so others might know Him.
Read John 3:25-30
What did John the Baptist say to his concerned disciples regarding the people going to Jesus instead of him?
What did John say about his role?
What must happen?
John the Baptist’s ministry was to make the way for Christ. Coming before Him to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Him. John saw himself as the friend of the Bridegroom, the best man, waiting to serve His needs, and identify Him to others by announcing His arrival. Having accomplished his role, he summed up what came next in one simple sentence.
Re-read John 3:30
How does this verse speak to sharing your life in Jesus’s name?
When people look at you, who do they see more of you or Jesus? Explain.
In our decreasing, we make room for the Holy Spirit to increase, working more of Jesus into our lives. We become less to become so much more!
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
When you consider Jesus, how do you feel about what He’s done for you?
Does what He’s done for you impact your life and the lives of those around you? How?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God for the wisdom, power, and ability to re-member Jesus in your world through the sacrifice of sharing.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
Ephesians 3:7-12 ESV
Exercise Your Faith
Sharing comes easy when we have an abundance. We are more likely to stop and talk to someone in the grocery store when we aren’t in a hurry, or give money when we have extra. Sharing when it seems there might be a shortage is tougher. We might worry about our own state of affairs, the bills that need to be paid or the long checklist of items we still have to do. Our flesh may scream in protest, “Share? I don’t even have enough for me!”
Is God calling you to share something you do not have an abundance of, something you can’t replace or get back? Consider following through and share it anyway. Ask God for the courage to let go and trust He will provide all that is needed.
Reflection Scripture: Journal
Click here for today’s guided Journal Page – Share Day 5 guide. Follow the directions.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:16 ESV