The Power of “Share”

True confession: I came to Facebook kicking and screaming. It seemed to me social media had pulled friends and family into a virtual vortex, consuming all their time … and maybe half their soul. (OK, I exaggerate.) After standing on the edge of the pool for 10 years, though, it was time to jump in. The water was pretty chilly at first, for I unwittingly dived right into the middle of the Fall 2016 presidential campaign! It’s been much warmer since. (Thankfully.)

Closely connecting with lifelong friends has been a profoundly gratifying experience for me, and it’s been fun to discover people we’ve known in common. “I didn’t know you knew Mike! He was a fraternity brother of mine.” But what has surprised me most about social media has been the power of “share.” We might post something on our page and reach 70 people, for instance, but when others “share” our post with their friends, it very rapidly expands, reaching two, three, or four times our original audience, sometimes even more. It’s amazing! In fact, over the past 14 months, this blog, “A Word for Wednesday,” has reached people in 32 countries and every continent except Antarctica. From Chile to China, from Cambodia to Namibia, from Poland to Peru, from Myanmar to Mexico—it’s all been the power of “share,” one person passing the post to his or her Facebook friends, who shared it with their friends, and on and on. (See above map of countries reached by this blog.)

Jesus understood both the importance of “post” and the power of “share.” He has written on our hearts the message of salvation through faith in His death and resurrection, and He commands us to share it in compassion for others. Isn’t this how we received the gift of a full and forever life in Christ, by people sharing it from person to person and from generation to generation, until one day it touched our soul? The technology has changed over the years, but the post has not, nor has the call to spread its truth. For when people next door and around the world come to faith in Christ, His kingdom expands—a growing global network of people who live and flourish in Him. This is the power of “share,” and He has entrusted it to us, His friends. What an honor!

“I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

Jesus, thank you for friending me and for posting your life-giving word in my heart. Grace me with the strength and joy to share you with others as you direct me today. Thank you for this high honor. Amen.

Christ in me is salvation.

[Click here to read Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus’ story about the power, expectation, and results of “share.”]


Fifty Ways To Lose Your Treasure

In his teenage and early-adult years, I would occasionally share this observation with my son, Matthew: “Some people have money because they earn a lot, and some people have money because they don’t spend it.” (When you’ve driven around the block a few times in life, you begin to notice these things!) Even today when young people tell me about working two or three jobs, I tell them that the good thing about working hard is that you earn a lot of money and you don’t have time to spend it. Start saving now! They laugh and nod in agreement, relating well from their new-found experience.

One of the ironies in life is that it takes years of toil and sacrifice to build up a cash reserve—“security” that can vanish in an instant! As King Solomon once wrote, “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Proverbs 23:5). Earning is difficult, but losing money? Well, with apologies to songwriter, Paul Simon, there must be “Fifty Ways To Lose Your Treasure.”

Just purchase the bridge, Midge, fall for the spiel, Neil
Don’t need to beware, Clare, go shopping with glee
Go out and spend, Len, go buy that brand-new Benz
Just give me the cash, Flash, entrust it to me

You get the point. We can all think of famous “success stories”—business tycoons, movie stars, professional athletes—who had everything, only to lose everything.

Yet fiscal ruin pales in comparison to personal ruin—the loss of family and friends and faith and health. No one ever sets out to sacrifice these things in pursuit of worldly success; it just happens gradually, imperceptibly over time. And so, Solomon says to all who will cease striving long enough listen, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint” (Proverbs 23:4).

Think long-term, make good decisions, value life balance—I think that’s what Solomon is saying. I’ll take his word for it. Seems like a wise enough guy.

Father, thank you for every good gift that comes from you. Lead me into wise decisions, that I would seek you each day and invest this life into the well-being of those you put in my path today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Christ in me is wisdom.


The Charge of the Bed Brigade

Dale Cory is a worker. A retired electrical engineer, he has put his side-interest—carpentry—to greater use. How? Dale leads a team of a dozen-plus volunteers in making beds for people who do not have them. It’s part of a larger, multi-church initiative called, “Bed Brigade.” Together they saw boards and assemble them with self-tapping screws to make simple bedframes. What a great and useful ministry for people who like to work with their hands!

bed brigadeDid I mention Dale Cory is a worker? Yes, his team assembles beds to meet a basic human need, but that’s just the beginning. When Bed Brigade delivers their frames and mattresses, they share a message with the receiving families, as well: that it is the love of God working through the hearts of people that these beds are made and given to them. Sometimes they also share that God knows what it is like not to have a bed, for when Jesus entered this world, there was none for Him either. And for a permanent reminder, each bed is inscribed with a Bible verse—one that evokes thoughts of God’s love in the evening hours. There are several from which one could choose, I suppose— “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8), or “When you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24). Finally, the delivery team gives each family a Bible (including picture Bibles for the children), encourages them to find a nearby church for fellowship, care and growth, and before leaving, they pray with the family over any specific needs they may share.

Spiritual needs surround us; though we don’t see them, they are every bit as real as the physical needs that cannot escape our notice. In fact, matters of the soul are even more consequential in the scope of eternity. Knowing this, the apostle Paul shared this wise instruction with a young pastor named, Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). For acts of kindness accompanied by words of truth give us hope—a living hope in which we find eternal rest.

Lord, build me up in your truth, and send me in your love, that I would speak as you would have me speak and serve as you would have me serve. Amen.

Christ in me is hope.