We Share: Local

You'd think it'd be easier for people to SHARE.  Right?  First of all, parents spend so much time trying to teach kids to share that surely parents must be freely sharing with others all the time.  What's more, the Bible tells us that we're made "in God's image," and God is at God's most fundamental one who shares!  In creation, God shared divine will, divine order, and divine life in order to create...well, Creation!

So why is it that sharing still doesn't come naturally to all people?  Maybe we forget or ignore that part of God's image in ourselves.  We're also susceptible to the nagging fear that if we share, we won't end up with enough for ourselves.  

But the truth is that there is enough, and there's more joy in sharing.  Because God shares with us, we can share joyfully with others.  

In Nehemiah 12, the city wall has finally been finished, and the people gather to celebrate!  But their celebration is only complete when they share portions of what God has given them.  

God shares with us through time, talent, and treasure.  

TIME: In Nehemiah, the first person to share his time is, ironically, an enemy king.  Artaxerxes sees that Nehemiah is sad asks him "What is it you want?"  He dignifies Nehemiah with his full attention.  The gift of time -- our most valuable commodity, after all -- can give people the priceless gift of dignity and validation.  

TALENT: Nehemiah could never have built Jerusalem's wall without the committed talents of so many people.  Chapter 3 (among other places) is a long list of the talents people offered in the rebuilding process.  And that's just the stone and wood!  There were also the talents of the singers and instrumentalists in worship as they celebrated the project!

TREASURE: Last but not least, the people's gratitude was best expressed through their giving.  This was also a way for them to revive their covenant relationship with God, who since before the Law was even written had been faithful to provide for their ancestors in the Sinai wilderness.  Moreover, the people contribute to the collective ministry God would do through all Israel, managed through the priesthood.  

At UPPC, our Code includes "We share" along with the other aspects we've highlighted in this "Stronger Together" series.  

Finally, this week we looked at the value of sharing locally.   We know that God always has the whole world in mind.  And the Church has responded to God's global vision by sending Jesus' followers across the globe with the Gospel for centuries.  But the allure of traveling abroad for Jesus' sake can sometimes threaten to eclipse the sanctity of serving our local community.  When I served overseas for one year, I quickly learned that everywhere is local to someone.  Moreover, God's kingdom work in a locale might be augmented and blessed by international visitors, but it is sustained but locals committed to its redemption.  

This Fall, let's ask God to reveal to us what He has given us to share, and how we might share locally, to His glory.  

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