I’ve always loved Paul’s words to the Thessalonians, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” (v. 2:8)
I am particularly moved that attached to the sharing of the Gospel is relationship. The Good News of Jesus makes way for so much more than trying to get people to check a box or subscribe to a creed. It involves hearts, lives, feelings, relationship—and all the joys and heartbreaks that come along for the ride. And while the Gospel being relational is undeniably the prize it is also the costly part where the stakes are highest. Why? Because it means sharing our lives.
One of my closest friends—my craziest blonde friend with blue eyes to match the Vespa she zips around town in with her oversized goggles and helmet that looks like an acorn on her head—met a family with some complex and acute needs, to put it mildly. She felt the Lord nudging her to buy them a certain item they desperately needed, but winced as she explained. I couldn’t understand what the problem was.
“I’m afraid if I buy this for them they might start needing me.”
“Well, what if it starts to become inconvenient?”
There it was. My friend’s hesitancy to get involved was exactly at the point of having to “share her life”. This was her point of discomfort and it’s the same as mine, and probably yours. We would so much rather give someone a simple message, write a check, send a gift and move along—all good things—but if we’re not in some area of our existence actually sharing our lives with those who need us, we’re missing an essential element of what surrounds the good news of the Gospel. Costly and inconvenient, perhaps. But eternally rewarding, absolutely.
The family my friend bought the gift for is now in both our lives and the truth is that at times this is inconvenient. Sometimes it’s complicated and frustrating. But this only means that the real work of investing in actual lives is happening. And for every challenge, we’re seeing bright moments of enormous transformation and healing happening within the whole family. (And, oddly, we’re being transformed as well—imagine such a thing.) These friends are a blessing to us for the same reason Paul’s sharing his life with the Thessalonians was a blessing to him: they’ve become dear to us.
When you invest in those around you by not only sharing of the Gospel, but with your life as well, those same people will become dear to you. You’ll have the otherworldly privilege of friendships you never thought you’d have, the joy of being part of lives changing for the better, and the gift of joining in the work that is sourced in God. Ask God to open your eyes and hearts to those whom He’s asking you to step out and share your life with. You have a precious life to offer someone. And they might even bless you back.