Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. -1 Thess 2:8 NIV
This verse from 1 Thessalonians is engraved on my heart. As a volunteer for Young Life*, we talked about it often because it was the model we followed in our ministry. Through Young Life, I learned what it meant to not only share the Good News of Jesus, but to enter in and live life with people as well. To sit through the messy broken parts of life and to rejoice in the times that were sweet. To allow others into my own hurt, disappointments, joys, and victories.
This morning at church, the worship leader talked a little about Young Life and how our church has partnered with this amazing organization. At one point, he asked the congregation to raise their hands if they themselves met Jesus through Young Life or if they personally know someone who did. I am not exaggerating when I say that at least half of the people in the room had their hands raised. I was one of them.
Young Life didn’t invent this and neither did Paul. This is how Jesus did ministry. He called people by name and ate at their homes, even those whom no one else wanted to be near. He went out of His way just to have encounters with certain people. He brought his disciples with him as he ministered to the masses and as he faced the Cross. He both went to and brought along. And ultimately, He shared his very life with us, that we may have eternal life with Him.
Have you ever felt what it is like to have someone share their life with you? You know what I mean, right? That difference between someone simply interacting with you and inviting you in?
- It’s neighbors opening up their home for dinner weekly while your husband is out of town with work for months.
- It’s friends letting you crash in their guest room while an issue with your home is being remedied.
- It’s friends sleeping on your couch when you have a panic attack and don’t know how you’ll make it through the night alone.
- It’s a coworker turned friend offering a safe space in their cubicle to sit and cry.
When someone shares their life with us we feel it, don’t we? We feel loved, valued, cherished, and cared for in practical ways. We see Jesus more clearly as people selflessly enter into our world and invite us to be part of theirs.
This week, my encouragement for us is to consider who Jesus may be asking us to share not only the Gospel with, but our lives as well. On the flip side, let’s remember to be intentional about sharing the Gospel as we live life alongside our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. May we seek to advance His Kingdom through genuine relationships with others.
Things to Consider:
- What people has Jesus placed around you that you sense a call to go deeper with?
- What would it practically look like for you to “share your life” with them?
- What one thing can you do this week?
- Who can you send a note or text to thanking them for sharing their life with you?
Hand Lettering by Sarah Boulware of @letterseed.
Young Life is a non-denominational ministry whose purpose is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. You can find out more about Young Life here.