I’d like to begin this post with an acknowledgment of a broken promise. A couple of weeks ago, I told you that I would not be blogging while I am overseas for the next couple of months. While that is still my intention, it looks like I am going to have break that promise at least once due to necessity. Simply put, it is a necessity that I share a French word with you.
As you may know from my previous post, I am in Europe for the next couple of months. If you know me, you may also know that I have a love for the French language. Although I have a lot to learn, each day here is a wonderful discovery of new ways to communicate using an entirely different language. I have many insights that I’d like to share with you about that, but that will have to wait until after the trip. For now, I am compelled to share one particular French word with you that I have been dwelling on this last week.
‘Partager’ (pronounced ‘par-ta-jay’) is the French word that means ‘to share’.
As you probably know, I talk a lot about the ‘organic’ nature of the church that is described in the New Testament. When I am asked about this from others who may be less familiar, I like to describe ‘organic’ church as being a ‘shared-life’ community. Since being here in Europe these last couple of weeks, I have become much more sensitive and awake to the reality and power of sharing. The French word ‘partager‘ has been on my heart everyday. Let me explain:
My wife and I have the privilege of sharing a home with another couple who is also part of the shared life community that we are part of. One of the things that makes sharing a home with this couple beautiful (as well as being part of a larger community of saints) is the fact that we have something incredible to share with one another. We have life (Christ) to share with one another!
If I’m being honest with you, however, the thought of leaving this shared life for a couple of months was a bit daunting. Traveling overseas alone is a new experience for me. There was (and still are) many unknown details regarding this trip. Whenever we face unknown situations, there can be a temptation to become afraid. I can honestly tell you, however, that the Lord has overcome this fear because of the verb ‘partager‘.
From the time I arrived here, saints have generously shared with me. I don’t have a car here, but I have been driven everywhere I have needed to go. I don’t have a home here, but a dear brother here has completely opened up his home to me. I have a bed to sleep in, and a warm shower available to me anytime. Another brother regularly goes out of his way to leave work during his lunch hour simply to take me to his home to have lunch with his family. Other brothers and sisters have invited me into their homes for dinner. Another brother took an entire day to take me sightseeing, and took another day to share his hobby with me. I have been enormously blessed!
In addition to all of this, last week myself and another brother were invited to come to the home of a sister in Christ who lives in another city. This sister heard from a mutual friend that I was going to be in the area visiting for a period of time, and she wanted to invite us to her home for a small gathering. As soon as we arrived at her home, I knew this was going to be a special evening. The moment I saw the eyes of this dear sister, I saw the light of Christ brightly shining in her.
This sister regularly meets with a few other sisters from her town, and that night, she invited us into her home to gather with them. It didn’t take long to see that this sister had a history of suffering and hardship. She was a widow.
Through all the hardships and suffering, this sister had also been given a deep love and revelation of Jesus Christ. Throughout the evening, sitting around a table filled with food and wine, we shared story after story of the sufficiency of Christ’s provision and love. The love of Christ that was being expressed through her countenance was from a different realm altogether. It is hard for me to explain with words, but the love being expressed that evening deeply affected me. I’ll never forget it.
I felt honored to be sitting around that table with those sisters who had experienced so much rejection and difficulty. I felt honored that this widow would take the little that she had to make a feast for us. I felt honored that she invited us into her home. I felt honored she would share her story and revelation of Christ with us. The experience left me in a daze the rest of that night. The following morning as I was on a walk, I had a conversation with the Lord that went something like this:
ME: Thank you so much for the incredible privilege that I had last night with those sisters. They are truly rare and precious gems in your kingdom. Also, thank you for making me feel so welcome here. This is a very generous gift you have given me. I feel completely honored by these saints. I wonder, is this how you felt when you were on the earth? Is this how you felt whenever you were accepted into someone’s home?
LORD: This is not only how I *felt*, this is how I *FEEL* right now. The acceptance and love you are experiencing is exactly what I am experiencing. When you are loved, received, and honored, I am loved, received, and honored.
ME: Wow, there really is no separation between us is there?
LORD: No. As a matter of fact, whenever you accept one of your brothers or sisters into your home for a meal, you accept me into your home for a meal. Whenever you share the time you have been given with one of your brothers or sisters, you have chosen to spend time with me. When you listen to a brother or sister share their heart, you listen to me. When you share My life and insight that you have been given with another brother or sister, I am communing with you in your midst. I am thirsty, but I have given you my living water as a well within you. When you share that water with your brothers and sisters, and you receive theirs, you quench *MY* thirst.
ME: Wow, this must be why I feel so satisfied this morning. It’s because you are satisfied this morning! I don’t think I am going to see sharing life with my brothers and sisters the same. I think I have taken eating meals and spending time with others for granted. What a miracle and privilege it truly is.
This experience has illuminated the following realities for me:
- To ignore or separate from another is the same as to reject another.
- When we receive our brothers and sisters into our lives and homes, we receive Christ Himself into our lives and homes.
- The goal of gathering with others is never simply gathering for the sake of gathering, but sharing life (Christ).
- When we receive and share His divine life with others, we quench the thirst of our Lord.
- The opposite of a selfish life is a shared life.
- There will always be temptations that will attempt to pull us away from sharing life with our brothers and sisters. These ‘temptations’ will seem like wisdom to those with a worldly mindset.
- We have been given a special authority to share true life with others. The ultimate question is not ‘Who is sharing their life with me?’ but ‘Who is the Lord bringing into my sphere to share His life with?’
The reality of God’s Favorite Place on Earth
As you may know, author Frank Viola recently released a new book about the town of Bethany. In the book, Frank describes why this has been (and still is) God’s favorite place on the earth. I have read this book while on this trip to Europe. I cannot say enough about the life and nature of Jesus Christ that has been illuminated through this book. I can honestly say that my love for Christ and His saints has greatly deepened as a result. Because of this book, a new world of possibilities regarding welcoming and sharing life have opened up for me.
This is one of those rare books that I would wholeheartedly recommend no matter where a person may be in life. I guarantee that you will catch a breathtaking glimpse of our Lord through this simple, yet profound, book. For more information about Frank’s latest release, click HERE.
Partager la vie,