As a father to three boys under the age of five, there are many words that permeate my household. No, Don’t, Stop, and Wait are all-too-familiar phrases; they echo from our walls. Lately, a new word has entered this discussion. I constantly repeat it to my boys, and not just for the sake of repetition. I am painstakingly trying to teach them.
With great patience, which I often lack, I enter their arena—dropping down to a knee or sitting with them on the floor—and explain the importance of this word.
Interestingly enough, it’s a word that many adults struggle with as well, but for different reasons. We don’t struggle with sharing blocks or toys or crayons. We struggle with sharing ideas. We struggle with sharing our stories. We struggle with sharing how we really feel.
Whether for presumed judgment or ridicule or vulnerability, we don’t share. Or, as an attempt to fit it or be funny or rant, we blast our words and ideas carelessly into our spheres.
Is there a way to be better stewards of what we’re sharing?
The Power of Sharing
As a twenty-three year old sales assistant, I was busy learning my way to the top. In order to have the opportunity to go into full-time sales, I would have to become the best assistant possible. I was placed under two very good salesmen and my job was to make their jobs easier. I scheduled appointments, ran errands, made phone calls – anything necessary to put them in a position to succeed.
One of the gentleman I worked for, Josh, gave me a very important gift one day. As we sat down to review our year-to-date progress and future goals, Josh handed me a CD. I glanced at the cover and saw a name I had never heard, and an odd name at that, Andy Andrews. The CD was titled Mastering the Seven Decisions: A PBS Special.
I had always been a fan of inspirational material so I figured I would give it a listen.
It changed everything.
This power-packed special put my life on a direct course to lead me where I am today. In fact, it is the inspiration that cemented my passion to become a speaker. The catalyst for everything I’ve shared here; Live Richly.
Although, Andy could be the star of this story, he isn’t. The star is my former boss, Josh.
You see, had Josh not taken the initiative to share this information with me, I may have never been introduced to Andy Andrews and his material would not have had the opportunity to shape my life.
Interestingly, Andy calls this phenomenon The Butterfly Effect – the ripple that our influence has on generations. This ripple is a wave of hope or a tsunami of destruction. It is a ripple created by our decisions.
Specifically, our decision to share.
The Dichotomy of Sharing
Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly sharing. We share thoughts, we share emotions, we share opinions, we share encouragement; we share information. My encouragement to you is to understand and become intentional about what you’re sharing and how you’re sharing.
The effects of unshared or inappropriately shared information can be devastating.
Much like my three-year-olds, we find something we like and we hoard it. We keep it to ourselves because we love it so much; we’re afraid that if someone else enjoys it that it ruins the intimacy for us. Or, we feel the hope in our own story, but fear or shame convince us that its not worthy, we’re not worthy.
Nothing could be further from the truth. We must share.
In other instances, our intentionality wanes and we share carelessly. I recently read a blog from a conservative Christian writer who tends to go for the controversial gusto. While I agreed with his beliefs and know that blunt words are sometimes needed, in this case, his words felt sharp and piercing; an attack. Interestingly enough, the shares were endless, popping up multiple times in my news feed.
Nothing further divides the Us versus Them chasm. We must not share carelessly.
An Example to Live By
Is there a way where we can walk the line between these two?
I believe so.
A small group of men and women, the disciples and Jesus’ closest followers, provide us a great example of sharing. The early church spread the message of the gospel through the lives a few people: Peter, Mary, John, Paul, Timothy, Silas, Barnabas, Stephen, and the list continues…
Not that God had to use them, but rather he chose them to be a vessel. As Jesus commanded, Go. Make. Baptize. Teach. Share. They obeyed.
Their actions reflect faith and love in spite of great opposition: imprisoned and abused, yet passionate and persistent.
They shared from a foundation of love. Love for their God. Love for their brother.
The question is, will we do the same?
You see, riches, both monetary and otherwise, were meant to be shared.
“You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11
I’m forever grateful for Josh’s action to share Andy Andrew’s wisdom in my life and I actually had the opportunity to tell him last month. When Josh and I reconnected, I thanked him for his influence. Somehow, I have to believe that it provided hope for him, proof that he’d made a difference. Proof that he can still make a difference.
And you can too. It all rests upon your decision to share.
Not from a place of obligation and not from a position of entitlement.
Rather, in love.
CHALLENGE: Share something that has impacted you with someone else today.