Going Deeper into Loving Others
Share: What We Have
We’re glad you’ve joined us to continue our journey in to share. Do you have a friend or two to talk with? Your Bible? Journal? Pen? Well, let’s get going.
Lord, how great You are and how great Your love is for us. Open our eyes to see all You share with us and open our hearts to share with others.
Read Reflection Scripture:
And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
Acts 2:44 ESV
What comes to mind when you think of a group of people sharing to the degree of having all things in common in today’s day and age? Does it seem practical? wise?
Some places we see a common sharing of lives in the world today are:
Some carry a negative connotation, others are based on a contract. But for the most part this type of commonality (outside of family) is not often seen and rarely seen as wise. It’s mostly considered weird and dangerous.
What insights did you gain from the Reflection Scripture and Reflection Thoughts which helped you understand what it means to share what you have as a means to love others?
In the early church, what was first and foremost the basis of their commonality?
Their belief was the basis for their commonality. They all believed in the Gospel. They believed in Jesus.
We’ve talked about biblical belief before, but it’s worth reviewing. Biblical belief includes intellectual assent, mental agreement, along with a depth of trust. When the Bible talks about those who believe, it’s talking about those who trust what they believe in a way that affects the way they live and act.
One definition of the Greek word pisteuō translated as believe in the Reflection Scripture is: to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or doing something: saving faith (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon).
What does trust in God have to do with our ability to share what we have? Why is it important to trust when it comes to sharing?
Trusting Jesus is an important part of being able to share all we have and to be wholly together with other Believers. We must trust we will be taken care of too, and not be taken advantage of. We must trust we will be included when we step out to share our lives with a believing community. And we must trust we will have enough, no matter how much He calls us to share. Fear hinders our ability to share and steals its joy.
Trust has no fear.
When we trust God we share more of our lives with Him. Sharing more of our lives with Him enables us to share what we have with others without our hearts being wounded.
Does your belief affect your desire and ability to share? How?
Picture yourself having all things in common, being wholly together with other Believers. What emotions rise? What thoughts come to mind?
When my daughter was in high school I agreed to go with her on a work week experience called UM ARMY as part of the kitchen team. Several youth groups gathered to work in a community to provide home repairs and much needed wheelchair ramps. The kitchen team was responsible for meals and snacks throughout the camp.
Each morning we rose before the break of dawn to begin preparing a hearty breakfast for some 100 workers. We set out lunch supplies and sent kids off ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus. After cleaning up from breakfast our team rushed to the grocery store for supplies. Before we knew it supper preparations were underway, evening snacks were made, plans for the next day completed and finally a few hours sleep. Each day brought new challenges on how to feed hungry teens on a limited budget. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.
Carol and I worked together on the kitchen team several times. At some point we began calling UM ARMY a “thin” place. Moments or experiences when the commonality of the group allowed God to draw closer as if the space between the Holy and us was much thinner. This experience gave me a wonderful point of reference when I consider sharing with others. It was a living example of what the early church experienced through working together with like minds and hearts.
When you consider all you have, what things seem easier to share than others? Why?
Whenever I’ve been called to share, fear comes into play. Most often, I fear what I have to share will not be enough.
Feelings of insecurity and inferiority, often keep me from sharing what I have. Whether it’s money, food, hospitality, compassion, mercy, love…
It just all feels too little for what’s needed.
How did praising God as the One who provides all things influence your desire to share what you have?
Read James 1:17-18
God provides all we need for life, including eternal life, and we can count on His continued provision because He never changes. From the very beginning, His gifts have always been good and perfect. He knows exactly what we need, when we need it. In this provision, He calls us to be “a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”
What does it mean to you to be a kind of firstfruit?
The Greek translated as firstfruits not only means the first portion given as an offering to God, but also a foretaste, emphasizing the certainty of a coming event (Dictionary of Biblical Languages).
Being a firstfruit of His creatures, is to be like Him. We become a foretaste of God’s promises in Christ when we openly share all we have without fear. We bring the light of the word of Truth into the world. As He shares with us, we share with others.
What do you generally think of sharing when you think of sharing what you have with others?
Most of us consider sharing our material resources, our time and energy, or opening up our homes and lives through hospitality. But in Christ we have something else to share too.
Read Philippians 2:1-2
What else has God given us from above in Christ?
God in Christ has given us: encouragement, comfort, tenderness, compassion, worth, and love. These are all much needed commodities in a dark world. He says if we have received any of these things by sharing in the Spirit, we are to be like-minded, sharing His love with others in the same way we have experienced it.
Is it easier for you to share tangible things or the intangible emotional support found in Philippians 2:1-2? Why?
When we share the love we’ve received from Him with others, it can be messy and time consuming. It can be hard to share our hearts with others, especially if the comfort we received came from a past wound. Sharing compassion can be like reliving those dark painful times, but it is something we cannot neglect. What He has shared with us, we are called to share with others.
If you find you can relate to others in their darkness, but do not feel as if you have any comfort, encouragement, tenderness, or compassion to share with them, maybe you need to consider whether you have fully shared your hurt with God. Our natural tendency is to shove our ugly past into a dark corner of our heart. We think it’s better left forgotten than dwelling in the past. But that’s not true.
There is healing to be had when we share our wounds with God. Whether your hurts were inflicted by your own sin or someone else’s, He will walk you through the process of forgiveness and grace. In these places, we come face to face with the power of the gospel and His love.
If you identify with this at all, we encourage you to seek Him in prayer. Ask Him to lead you to someone who can share the comfort they’ve received from Him with you.
Share with Him. Receive. Share with others.
Read Acts 4:32
This verse echoes the same description of the early church in the Reflection Scripture (Acts 2:44), but also tells us they were of “one heart and soul.” What they believed impacted their values and emotions. They were all in agreement, seeing life from the same worldview.
Is it easier for you to share with others who have the same worldview or with those in opposition to yours?
What was at the heart of the early church’s sharing? How did they view what they had?
No one claimed anything as their own.
Who did they consider all they had as belonging to?
The church sees everything as belonging to God. He shares what’s His with us.
How does knowing or accepting everything you have ultimately belongs to God, affect your attitude toward sharing what you have? even with those who are very different than you?
Understanding God shares everything with us to use according to His will and purpose, should move us toward sharing all we have with others as He calls us to. However, it’s often hard for us to let go of what we have, even a portion of it.
Why is it hard for us to share what we have?
There is something we can do to help us move our heart toward sharing what we have.
Read Psalm 50:23
How do we glorify God according to this verse?
Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Why do you think thanksgiving is a sacrifice which brings Him glory?
Thanksgiving is not something which comes naturally to us. In our culture we teach our children from a very young age to say “Thank you” when they receive something from someone. Sometimes it’s a battle to get a toddler to give thanks.
Giving thanks means laying down our pride and all delusion of self-sufficiency. In giving thanks we deny any sense of entitlement. When we give thanks, we confess we are poor and needy.
Yes, thanksgiving is a sacrifice which says we cannot support ourselves without help, nothing we have is our own, and we cannot save ourselves no matter how hard we try. But it is a practice which draws us closer to the reality of who He is and who we are before Him.
Is there something you’ve never thought to thank Him for? Do you think a regular practice of thanksgiving could help you see all of what you have as His? Explain.
Read Hebrews 13:1-6
Believers are called to continue, remain, abide, sojourn, and continue to be present in brotherly love. It should be our way of life and it involves sharing.
According to these verses, brotherly love continues by showing hospitality to strangers, remembering those in prison and those who have been mistreated, honoring marriage, and being content with what we have.
What sharing is involved in these actions of brotherly love?
We are called to share our homes and lives through hospitality, even with people we don’t know. Remembering those who are in prison as though we were in there with them involves sharing empathetically, as does remembering those who are mistreated when we consider them as part of us.
Time and energy are shared in these endeavors. Visiting. Comforting. Sharing boldly, because He is with us. We will not be forsaken or left without: The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear.
Sharing what we have is different than giving. When we share, there is mutual participation. Fellowship is involved. Empathy. Connecting on a heart level and in a personal one-on-one way.
Do you do more sharing? or giving? Why?
Read 1Peter 4:9
Don’t grumble when you offer hospitality. No murmuring, no complaining to self, no feeling intruded upon.
hospitable – 1a: given to generous and cordial reception of guests b: promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome c: offering a pleasant or sustaining environment 2: readily receptive: open (Merriam-Webster’s)
How is sharing involved in being hospitable? practicing hospitality?
- We share our homes and our hearts.
- We share open invitations to enter our homes.
- We share our time and energy in preparation.
- We share our food, comfort, encouragement.
Generally, we don’t want people to know about our grumbling when it comes to practicing hospitality, because it makes us look bad. Selfish. Stingy. Unkind.
Do you grumble when it comes to practicing hospitality? When a group of people say, “We should plan a party,” are you the first to offer your home? What makes it hard to be hospitable?
As an introvert hospitality is something I must work at. It takes much energy to host others in my home, and it often leaves me weary.
For many years it took me weeks to prepare for a get together in my home. I wanted everything to be just right, the food delicious, and my home immaculate. I would scurry around at frantic speeds focused on the details, and distracted by the unimportant. My expectations gobbled up my joy and the joy of others.
Funny, the root word for hospitality is hospital. A place where others go for healing and comfort, relief for their pain. Sharing our home and lives isn’t about the food we offer or the table setting. It is about breaking bread together and offering Christ through conversation, laughter, and love.
Sharing our lives, practicing fellowship is a mark of Believers. When we grow closer to Him, our hearts change. Gradually we become more hospitable, more open to sharing. Without ever making a conscious decision to change, He changes our hearts.
Read Matthew 25:34-39
What do you see being shared by those commended in these verses?
What was their response to the King when He commended them for sharing with Him?
They did not recognize they had given love to the King by sharing with those in need around them.
When we love God, we will rightly love others. Our proximity to Him changes us to be more like Him.
The act of sharing as an integral part to a life of faith is evident in Jesus’s parable depicting the day of Judgment. Those who know His grace will move toward sharing. Through our relationship with God we will find ourselves sharing more and more of what we have according to His will.
Our final Going Deeper into Loving Others through the faith practice of Share is Becoming Less to Become More.
Click here for a PDF of the homework: Share Week 5_ Becoming Less to Become More – Homework
Thank You Lord for all the blessings You share with us each day. May we bless You by willingly sharing with others in love as You call us to.