Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such
sacrifices are pleasing to God.” -Hebrews 13:16
Did you get to do “show and tell,” when you attended elementary
school? I sure hope so, as there is much to be mined from that
seemingly simple experience.
First, I distinctly remember jostling for position, everyone wanted to be
sure that they, “got their turn.” Not only did young people want to be
sure they “got their turn” it was also decidedly the case that each
student wanted to be sure they, “got their time.”
Now, just pause a minute, and ask yourself, isn’t public speaking one
of the most commonly held fears among American adults? How could
it be that in second grade we’re shoving folks out of the way to spend
ten minutes describing our latest Lego creation, but by middle school
three minutes in front of our peers is an excruciating eternity?
Which is better? Sharing from the heart with reckless abandon, or
being frozen with the fear of potentially, “saying something stupid?”
Well, it turns out, there might just be a happy medium that comes
along with a few more years and a little more experience.
So, here are a couple of things to think about in the New Year.
First, you have important insight to share. Really, I am serious. Your
story and your personal experience are valuable, and the wisdom you
have to offer may just be a blessing to those also finding their way
through the complexities of life. Is it possible that you say something
silly, or perhaps you have a perspective someone else might not
agree with? Sure, and so what? In some ways, that really is just a
part of the fun.
Secondly, from the very beginnings of Christianity, personal sharing -
a kind of spiritual show and tell - was an essential part of the journey.
Jesus’ life story, the good news itself, the hope for a better day, the
way in which the Spirit was working within the Christian community; all
of this was conveyed. If those early believers hadn’t been inspired to
take a little risk and contribute to the conversation, where would we be
In the weeks and months ahead, let’s focus on the stories that, as
scripture says, “build up.” In Bible studies, and times of fellowship,
and even our meetings… find an opportunity to share your story,
confidently display what God has been up to in your life, and maybe,
just maybe… others might become increasingly eager to do the same.
Question for reflection: What’s you biggest fear? What is the antidote
to that fear?
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, in this season of Epiphany, we pray that you would
give us moments when our hearts and minds are truly enlightened.
Renew our sense of awe and wonder, inspire moments of witness and
testimony, and reinvigorate our sense of purpose as we all have
something to share. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.