To Care Is to Share
1 The apostle Paul said, “But I do all things for the sake of the good news, that I may become a sharer of it with others.” (1 Cor. 9:23) In verse 19, Paul shows to what extent he was willing to go in order to do his part in extending the good news to others. He says: “For, though I am free from all persons, I have made myself the slave to all, that I may gain the most persons.” In verse 22 he continues, “To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to people of all sorts, that I might by all means save some.”
WHAT MAY WE SHARE?
2 Yes, to make disciples of Jesus Christ means more than sharing one hour of Bible study a week with them. Think of it! As these individuals learn of God’s will for them, they begin to see the need to leave behind some old habits, old associations, old friends, old forms of recreation, in other words, the old system. Some of these persons are even alienated from their families when they take their stand for true worship! Is it logical to expect them to do all this without providing some reasonable replacement in these areas? Commenting on this, Jesus said: “Truly I say to you men, No one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news who will not get a hundredfold now in this period of time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, with persecutions, and in the coming system of things everlasting life.”—Mark 10:29, 30.
3 Jesus’ assurance that those who take their stand for the good news would gain new friends and family even in this system does not make this happen automatically, does it? Isn’t it really fulfilled by virtue of our efforts to make it so? In this way Jesus expressed his confidence that his disciples would extend themselves, their friendship, their support, their time, and their resources toward helping others, in imitation of his example. This type of sharing is done by those who truly CARE. Paul wrote one group of Christians, “So, having a tender affection for you, we were well pleased to impart to you, not only the good news of God, but also our own souls, because you became beloved to us.”—1 Thess. 2:8.
4 Sharing to this extent requires a great degree of unselfishness. It means doing for these potential disciples many of the things we appreciate from our friends and family. It may be as little as telephoning them during the week to see how they are doing, or it may be as much as helping them to locate employment. Are you a carpenter? Have you offered to repair that small item in their home that you observed in need of some attention? Are you a mother? Could you help on occasion with the children? Can you invite them to your home for a meal? or go to their home for one? Due to an existing need, some brothers and sisters have helped their students to learn how to drive. Others have shown deserving ones in need where to shop for bargains locally, helped them to move and even repaired their automobiles. Are your students starting to discuss their newly found hope with others? Can you provide encouragement and assistance for them to do so?
5 Sharing sometimes involves accepting rather than offering something. For example, accepting an invitation from a wife who is studying to come over and share a meal with her and her opposing husband. Or accepting an offer from your student to help you in some small, practical way.
6 It is good to keep in mind that caring comes first, then sharing. Caring is the cause; sharing is the effect. We should care about people because God loves them, and we should share with them, not merely as a means to an end, but because we really care. Sharing with these potential disciples should not be difficult, as sharing should be a way of life for us as Christians. As a matter of fact, sharing with these interested persons should really be an extension of our relationship with our brothers and sisters. Paul said, “Really, then, as long as we have time favorable for it, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.” (Gal. 6:10) If we really care about those with whom we study the Bible, they will likely come to appreciate the truth, not only as correct doctrine, but as it really is—a way of life.