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Sharing What Can Be Shared

This week a tiny red squirrel discovered our bird feeder. He sits straight up underneath it, eating one spilled seed at a time with his wee paws. He’s almost as tall as a blue jay when he sits like that, and he and the jays seem to get along well.

I cannot show you a picture, though. It turns out that that some things are beyond the scope of my simple phone camera.

There was the cardinal flying overhead in a snow storm, a flash of red in a world of whirling white.

There was the moon, a crescent between two brilliant planets sitting on the early morning horizon, like glowing jewels on velvet.

There are house-sized, snow-filled ‘dust devils’ racing wildly along tree rows.

There are enormous flitting butterflies, living scraps of glowing blue that won’t sit still to be photographed.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot share these moments as they actually were. In fact, you would not see them as I had seen them even if I could photograph or film them or even if I had the descriptive skills of a poet. Although I still see them clearly in my own mind, you have no access to that.

Sometimes it seems as though Christianity is like that. We have it in our own minds and hearts, but we cannot share its essence.

It is freeing to realize that we are not called to share its essence. We are called to share what can be shared—God’s Word, his love, and our awe at his greatness. Only God can give someone the essence of Christianity, which is a living faith in Jesus.

Each of the treasures of creation is out there for people to see, but not even the best photographers and wordsmiths can capture them. I can only tell you about them, tell you how wonderful they are, and hope that you will take the time to look for similar beauty in your world.

That is like the gospel. I can talk about it. I can be enthusiastic about it. Yet, ultimately, I cannot make it yours. No matter how much I talk about God, I cannot give people a relationship with him. He has to make himself known to them and call them to himself (seeing it from the one side); seeing it from the other side, they have to seek him out. In each case the relationship, if it develops, is between God and the individual. It can never be a gift from me; it is a gift from God.

Oh, yes, we must share the Word that was given to be shared as well as the love that was given to be shared. We must pray. But we must also wait trustingly for God to act rather than giving in to our childish impatience for immediate results.

When we become discouraged—because we fragile little beings discourage easily— we can look at God’s creation again. As Isaiah 40 shows, there is comfort because God is so great that he made all the miracles around us and in us. He loves us and he renews the strength of those who hope in him.

May God strengthen us to know the love of Christ more and more. May he bless us as we aim to see what we should see and to share what can be shared. And may he comfort us and give us peace when we so desperately want to do more. Amen.

One never really knows where one’s ideas come from, but in this case I acknowledge some of Simonetta Carr’s musings in Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them as well as a discussion in CMI‘s Creation Extra, December 2018.

This article may be linked to Inspire Me Monday, Christian Homemaking, Friendship Friday, Make My Saturday Sweet.

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