Tell them to do good and be rich in good works. They should give much to those in need and be ready to share. (1 Timothy 6:18 NLV)
The Apostle Paul closed out his first letter to the young pastor, Timothy, by instructing him to instruct believers to “be ready to share.” As you can see from the verse above that included doing good to others, and to give much to those in need. Being ready to share is a fundamental expectation for followers of Jesus. So, are you ready to share?
I ask that question already knowing the answer. The people of Cross Culture Church are among the most sharing people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. So, let me say in advance, thank you for how you will respond to this new initiative here at Cross Culture Church.
Well, it’s not really new, but it has a new name. In the past we have encouraged all of us to take part in what we used to call Love Your Neighbor Nights, events designed to encourage interaction, and relationship building with those around us. Starting in 2016 we’re calling it ShareLife.
I confess the new name is an attempt to stir up new interest in what I believe can be a very effective reach-out tool. But, like any tool, it does no good if it stays in the tool box. The new name also reflects a general biblical principle that all followers of Jesus are to adhere to, and that is the command to share our lives with those around us.
In the verse above Paul emphasizes that we should “give much to those in need.” We help those in need of food, clothing, and other basic essentials for life, and we should. It’s the right thing to do. But what about the most basic essential of all, the need for salvation? The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us: Just as everyone must die once and then be judged. (Hebrews 9:27 NCV)
Every single person you and I know, work with, live near, or see around us, will someday stand before God Almighty, condemned by their sin, and deserving of hell. It doesn’t matter how good they may have appeared to have been in life, or how bad. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
The only thing that will mean anything is the one thing that can save them, a relationship with Jesus Christ.
That truly is the greatest need that all human beings share, the need for forgiveness; the need for grace. The question then becomes, who is going to share this with them?
If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.’ That Scripture says ‘anyone’ because there is no difference between those who are Jews and those who are not. The same Lord is the Lord of all and gives many blessings to all who trust in him, as the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.’ But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. (Romans 10:9-14 NCV)
You probably already know this, but that “someone” that Paul mentions is you. We have to be the “someone” willing to reach out to someone else. We have to be willing to share what they desperately need, the Good News of God’s love. Jesus brings eternal life, and He will use us by sharing our lives with others. That’s what ShareLife is designed to help us do.
We’re asking for each person/family that is part of Cross Culture Church to take one night out of the middle month of each quarter and invite one person/family over to your home for a meal. The objective is to simply share our lives with them in hopes that God will use it to eventually share life in Jesus with them.
This past Sunday I asked for a show of hands of those who would commit to giving out at least one iVite card this week. I was blessed to see virtually every hand go up, and I’ve already heard some great stories from some of you who have given out your card! (We’d love to hear more stories! email@example.com)
In this Pastor’s Perspective I’m asking you to make a similar commitment to taking part in ShareLife. February, May, August, and November are the official ShareLife months. Make a commitment to having someone over one night for dinner during each of those months. Get to know them better. Let them get to know you better. Build your relationship with them. Share your life with them. Then see what God does with it.
I don’t know if the people we have into our homes will come to know Jesus as their Savior or not. I don’t know if they will come to Cross Culture Church or not, although I’ll bet we’ll have the opportunities to invite them as our relationship grows with them. What I do know for sure is that without Jesus they have no hope, and as Paul said: …for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. (Romans 10:14b) So, I’ll ask it again, are you ready to ShareLife?
I love being your pastor,
Dr. J. Clay Stevens is Lead Pastor of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh, NC. He is author of the book I Get It! Discovering How To Really live In The Promises Of God. His life mission statement is: "To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be."