So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thessalonians 2:8, ESV)
When I look at that scripture, it makes me feel a few different ways. First, sharing “me” is, well… risky. It denotes developing a closer relationship to another person that I don’t necessarily find comfortable. They may reject me somehow. At the same time, while it may be risky, it’s something that I sincerely desire. I can only speak from a female perspective but I suspect men feel similar, just maybe not as “gushy” about it. I long for that bonding with another person on a deeper level.
I would have to say that my friendships that include God as the focus are usually deeper and stronger than my other friendships. When I was seeking Jesus, a couple of women were willing to share “not only the gospel of God” but also themselves with me. They didn’t pretend to have all the answers. They didn’t act self-righteous and “churchy.” They really were just themselves. They didn’t judge me. They included me in their activities. They let me see them be flawed. They made time for me. That level of sharing themselves was crucial to me. It showed me I mattered to them.
Sharing yourself isn’t always pleasant. I have received a blast of anger in my face that was not really meant for me, but exhausting just the same. I have sat with a sincerely hurting friend and felt completely at a loss to offer anything that would even make a dent in their pain. Later, I discovered it didn’t matter. What she needed was me to be willing to sit, listen, and pray. Despite my complete incompetence and her deep pain, God blessed that time and used it to ignite healing.
How can you share yourself today? Do you have a text you need to return? Maybe your coffee “date” is long overdue. Maybe you are just supposed to call and let someone know you miss her—that her lack of presence is noticed and it matters to you.
Perhaps your sharing is to mentor someone or go help them fix something or rake their leaves. Only you and God know what it is, but be attentive to His nudging because it matters to someone. You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to be willing.
It’s the least we can do. Jesus shared himself to death with us.