The Believers Share Their Possessions
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”
I don’t remember the first time I read these verses, but I remember feeling inspired and convicted that nothing is my own. That everything I have can and should be shared with those around me. So it got me thinking about my own selfishness, and the things that I cling to.
It’s super selfish but as I sought out a new church community about two years ago, I wanted my new church community to pour into me. I wanted it to be like DCF at Muhlenberg where an older woman sought me out and wanted to spend time investing in me.
However God slapped me in the face with that desire real quick.
After 11 months of endless and sometimes unwanted community on the World Race [#IntrovertLife], and five months of basically choosing isolation when I returned home, I had decided I wanted to be part of community again.
Not just any community, a healthy, fun, youthful but deeply spiritual Young Adult community. So I prayed for it. The church I attend used to have a 603 service specifically geared towards Young Adults. They had bible studies together on Thursday nights, hosted hangouts every Sunday night after the service, and there were women’s bible studies to get involved in. Hello. Exactly what I desired. So I resolved to check it out, and not just check it out one night and leave, which I had done a few times before… I committed to staying until I made at least one personal connection to someone [because before I would just walk right out].
Here is the exact prayer.
That night, I walked in and was greeted by a super tall super attractive young adult man.
*Focus Ariane, you’re not here for boys, you’re here for Jesus.*
I found a seat happily by myself, and internally struggled between wanting to worship Jesus World Race style, and not wanting to weird anyone out around me.
We went through the worship [which was the closest thing I had found to World Race worship since being home] and the service. Then we had communion and lo-and behold, the cute guy was at the front of my aisle, about to serve me my communion. I got up and waited in line, all the while praying and repeating:
*Don’t look at him Ariane, you’re here for Jesus, just ignore this guy. I’m here for you Jesus, just for you.*
I walked up to him, grabbed my bread and juice, and was super proud of myself that I managed to walk right past him without a second glance. #Discipline
After the service the Young Adult Pastor at the time, Pat, got up to make a few announcements and said they were still looking for more young adult volunteers for something called Seniors in Action, and to ask Kyle about the info. And if you didn’t know who Kyle was, come up to Pat.
I had no clue who Kyle was, and I had committed to not leaving until I had met at least one person that night. So I got the courage to walk up to Pat and let him know I was new, looking to get plugged in, and to sign me up for whatever the Seniors in Action thing was.
“Great!” He said. “Kyle’s the guy you’ll want to talk to…”
*Watch Kyle be that tall cute guy…* I thought to myself…
“He’s the tall guy right there.”
*Dang it! Of course that’s Kyle.*
So I walked right up to him, introduced myself, let him know to sign me up, did the whole spiel, and then he passed me off to a group of girls.
*Wait what? What the heck, why did he pass me off? He doesn’t wanna talk to me?*
Were the immediate disappointed thoughts swirling through my head. But then I remembered I was there for Jesus, not guys, so my thoughts started to shift.
*Well that’s kinda cool, he clearly wants me to know he’s not flirting, and is more interested in making sure I get plugged into the right community of women rather than seeking the attention of man… That’s neat. I respect that.*
I then proceeded to be introduced to various groups, meeting everyone and anyone. I went out to eat with them and walked away from my first night hanging with that YA church community having every prayer I had prayed that very morning… Answered.
I was floored. But my excitement was shadowed by something else. Something very small, as I realized God was trying to shift my perspective. Something that I didn’t necessarily like, but sparked a little excitement in me at the same time.
“I want you to teach the people around you about me, outside the box they put me in. The things I taught you on the Race, the things you didn’t know existed until now.”
What was that God? I’m not here to simply be pursued and doted on and be the only one learning? I can’t just sit back and soak in, you want me to do something with my love for you?
That’s right, He wanted me to teach others about His goodness, His spirit, His openness, His voice…
And while the selfish part of me wasn’t exactly happy, the adventurous radical deeply in love with Jesus side of me lit up, as He reminded me that my purpose on this earth isn’t to wait around for someone to seek me out.
God’s purpose for me isn’t about me. His plan for me involves developing my soul, strengthening me, teaching me… so that I can go forth and develop, strengthen, and teach others. It’s not about me. It’s about Him. It’s always been about Him. It’s about others knowing Him, and seeing Him in challenging but beautiful ways. To know that life with God isn’t a crutch or a life of rules, regulations, tests, and passing or failing grades.
Life with God is an adventurous love story. One that never ends, no matter how many times you try and close the book on Him, or rip out the pages you don’t think you’ll like, or are scared of the path He has for you and backtrack to another, “safer” path.
Life with God is about Him, His pursuit of me, and His pursuit of others through me.
So this year, 2017, I want to focus on the words “Stop. & invest.” Stop thinking it’s about me. Stop thinking I need more. Stop thinking I deserve good things. But to instead, spend time investing in myself, for the plain simple purpose that I can then go forth and invest more deeply in others.
P.S. That Kyle guy spent the next year dodging me and keeping me at a distance like he did every other girl. Which was perfectly fine by me. [Although I did have my frustrated moments, like any girl would.] I enjoyed watching as the Lord kept creating situations for us to get to know each other better as we served in ministry together. Eventually, Kyle decided he liked me, and decided it would be a good idea to ask me out before someone else did. We’ve been on that adventure for about 11 months now and despite a ton of ups and downs, he’s taught me what Jesus’ incredible endless patience, grace, and forgiveness looks like. And no matter what happens with us, he makes sure I know “it’s not about me.”
P.P.S. He also just so happens to look like Jesus.