I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6
Perhaps you have seen the bumper stickers or T-shirts that read “Salt Life”. This tagline identifies a brand for those who have a love for the sea and fishing. They have become quite the trend—at least in my neighborhood. I often wonder if the Church could start a similar movement of apparel with the tagline “Shared Life”. After all, that is a founding principal that unites us in Christ, as seen in Acts 2.
The believers of the Early Church shared all they had, but what they shared most was their common faith, love and gratitude for each other. I think Paul may have had this in mind when he sat in that Roman cell and penned his letter to the Philippian church.
Paul was grateful to the believers in this church because they shared his work of spreading the Gospel. He was grateful not only for the good work that God had begun in them, but more so for their great love.
Four years ago, my family and I were “church homeless”. Moving to a new part of the city left my family and I without a church home and place to connect. We gathered in fellowships all around our city, but no place ever really felt like home. Then one day we “stumbled” upon South’s website. Coming to this fellowship we found a community of people who truly sought after Christ, lived out their faith practically, welcomed not just the elite but all people from all walks of life, and served the community with the tenderhearted compassion of Christ. Because of the shared life exemplified in the body of South, my family found a church home that allows us to serve, and better equips us to be the Church wherever we go. This stirs not only gratitude in our hearts for each person at South, but a great and unifying love. It is a love that carries over into our lives as we befriend those in our community. I, personally, now have many friends in my community whom I would not have seen or thought to befriend before. Like Paul, I have the privilege of praying for them and for South daily, praising God for each one with great joy.
Take a moment today to think of a friend you might not have today were it not for Christ. Send them a message of gratitude and love.
By Sheila Rennau