April 3, 2007

 

The Power of Sharing

By Amy Carroll

 

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

In 1988, Time magazine ran an article exploring the introduction and expansion of the videocassette industry. The report concluded that Sony had made a grave error when it introduced its Beta technology. (For you young chicks, these were before DVDs) While JVC, the company that originally produced VHS tapes, shared its technology prolifically with other companies, Sony had kept its technology largely a company secret. By 1987, Sony controlled only 10 percent of the market with its Beta format and ultimately abandoned its own innovation to join the VHS dominated market place. JVC had tapped the secret power of sharing in its marketing strategy.

 

When we were children, our parents made teaching us to share a major parenting priority. Now my husband and I not only encourage our children to share, but often insist on it. In many areas of a woman’s life, sharing still holds a place of importance. Busy women share time with friends, family, school and church. We’ll share a secret, and we’ll share desert with someone dear. The concept of sharing amongst adult women, though, often starts to break down when we are asked to share our very selves. It’s difficult to share a place of past shame even when we have a story of God’s tremendous healing. It’s hard to teach a younger woman about loving her husband when we feel so inadequate in our own marriage. We feel hesitant to encourage our daughters to embrace purity when our own lives may hold scars or impure spots. Unfortunately, the competitive nature of women sometimes keeps us from sharing. We want to appear to be the best employee, speaker, writer, Sunday school teacher, wife, mother, PTA member…. Sometimes when we share too much of ourselves, those illusions are shattered, or we are deposed from our position of first place.

 

My life has not only been transformed over time by the power of God’s Spirit, but also by the lives of women who were willing to share with me. Layne shared the gift of purity with me when I was a teenager. Jean shared her love for missions with me when I was in college. Macon shared her love of God’s Word with me and encouraged me to dig deeper. Mona shared her ability to make words “apples of gold in settings of silver” (I’m grateful but still working on that one!). Most recently, the women of Proverbs 31 Ministries shared with me through the She Speaks! conference for speakers and writers. I went as a woman with a calling, but I was terrified of being “picked apart” or judged as “not good enough.” Instead, I found a group of women who weren’t just sharing—they were giving it all away. All their talents, passion and love were poured into me as they desired to share what they had in hopes that I would join them in Kingdom work.

 

When JVC began to disseminate information about their VHS videocassettes, I don’t believe that they were just an altruistic company that shared their hard-earned technology for the joy of it. Sharing was a marketing strategy that proved very effective. Jesus modeled sharing in its most radical form as a Kingdom-building strategy. He said in John 10:10b-11, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (NIV) He calls us to follow Him through the same radical kind of sharing. It’s a sharing by laying down our own lives for others all for the love of Jesus. This sharing strategy bears unbeatable dividends!

 

Dear Lord, Help me to put aside fear, shame, pride or busyness in order to follow You in this call to sharing. Make me aware of the needs of women around me, and give me a sense of calling in places that You want me to share. As You were obedient to lay down Your life even unto death, help me to join with You in obedience. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

 

P31’s She Speaks conference

 

At the Feet of Ordinary Women by Angie Conrad

 

Application Steps: 

Explore mentoring groups in your church or community.

 

Ask about visiting a lonely woman in a nursing home or children’s home near you.

 

Reflections: 

What talents, resources or places of spiritual maturity has God given to me?

 

Who is God calling me to share these things with in order to build His Kingdom?

 

What would keep me from sharing with another woman? Submit these challenges to God in prayer.

 

Power Verses:

Acts 4:32, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” (NIV)

 

Acts 20:35, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we much help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (NIV) 

 

II Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (NIV)

 

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org