It was the first session on the first day of my first college class. Lucky me - that first course was calculus. My nerves were only intensified when the professor strolled into class, stated his name and the course title and immediately began instruction on the first day's lesson. By the end of the hour-long class, my hand ached in direct proportion to the mountain of notes I had taken.
While I may have been initially intimidated, that professor became my favorite in the entire department. His passion for math was evident in his desire to use every moment granted him to pass to his students his lifelong love of his chosen field of study. As I neared the end of my college career, I inquired one day how he had come to be so knowledgeable about math. His response, "I gave away everything I knew. The more I gave. The more I came to know."
Today I am reading the book of Philemon. Philemon is one of two books (Jude is the other) in the New Testament that has no chapters. It is so brief that it is a mere twenty-five verses long. The major subject of this passage is the slave Onesimus who is returning to his owner, Philemon. Paul implores Philemon to receive him with love and forgiveness. He also shares with Philemon the content of what he has been praying for him (Verses 6-7).
I need go no further than the first line of Paul's prayer, to hear God whisper into my heart. "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." There are many reasons someone might be hesitant to share their faith but here are a few:
- I'm Unqualified - Many people, myself included, feel unqualified to share with others about their faith. I do not have a seminary ph.D. I can not read the Bible in it's original languages. Therefore, I am unqualified, right? Wrong! This verse tells me that it is in the sharing of my faith that I gain greater understanding. Like my college professor, God just wants me to give away what I do have. It's in the giving that I continue to learn.
- I Have to Be a "Weirdo" - If we have the impression that sharing our faith only means donning a sandwich board marked John 3:16 or shouting at passerby from a street corner, we may be overlooking a few opportunities. Sharing my faith can be as simple as telling a friend about a meaningful verse or taking a moment to let someone I'm praying for know that I am.
When I first started this blog, my biggest fears were feeling unqualified and being thought of as a weirdo. I'll bet you'll never guess who's life has changed the most these last few months. Right. It's mine. The more I've given away, the more I've had to give. And while some of you might find me a bit odd, I promise I've never typed in a sandwich board. Not even once.
Jesus, I've so often heard it said that "you can't out give God." That statement is made in reference to money. Today You've helped me see that it is also true of my faith. The more I give my faith away to others, the more faith You give me in return. I'll likely never attend seminary, but today I will pass on what I learn, remembering that tomorrow I'll know more than I do today.