Thursday, November 14, 2019

Don't be a trouble-maker. Be a trouble-taker.

Every year around Christmas, my small Christian school had a roller-skating party at the local rink. The first time I attended was in third grade and I think it was only the second time I had roller-skated in my life. I wasn't very good, and I was afraid of falling, so I crept around the rink with one hand on the wall. I was more shuffling than skating.
Then Jimmy came alongside me, grabbed my hand and said, "Come on." Slowly we skated around the rink over and over and over until I started to get the hang of it. Jimmy was a great skater, he could dart in and out of people, flying around the oval faster than almost everyone else. He won the age-graded races and the limbo competition every year. I imagine it was incredibly boring and a little frustrating to skate beside me when he could have been gliding around the rink at a much faster rate of speed.
But he chose to share my trouble. For many years (until I moved away), Jimmy and I were the best of friends. Today, we're still Facebook friends with plenty of great memories.
The Philippians shared Paul's trouble. In Philippians 4:14-18, Paul spilled over in gratitude for the contributions they had made. 
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
Although they probably had no idea what the outcome would be, these generous people chose to simply invest what they had for the benefit of someone else. We know the outcome was the spread of the Gospel across the known world!
When you choose to share in someone else's trouble, you have no idea what the outcome will be. What you know for sure is that you are living like Jesus. He came to earth, specifically to share in our trouble so that He could ultimately rescue us from our trouble.
Your words and actions can either make trouble for others or take trouble from others. You make the choice!

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