Starting today, you can "Share joy with the world" by participating in daily challenges from now until Christmas. Follow our Advent-inspired holiday project over the next 25 days by subscribing to the blog and checking back every day for a new story and challenge.
Today’s challenge: Share with us a Bible verse that brings you joy in the comments section below!
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." –John 10:10 (NIV)
What you share is what you value
As World Vision staff, it has been on our hearts this holiday season to share joy. In the midst of pain and sorrow – hunger, disease, disaster, exploitation, economic injustice – we must remember to celebrate the impact that we can make and that we have made. Every dollar entrusted to us is multiplied and amplified through our 44,000 dedicated staff around the world. It's true that we must share the statistics and stories of need around the world, but we must intentionally share the joy of lives transformed as well.
If we don't value joy, then the problem of poverty will never be solved. We can provide all the clean water and food in the world, but without sharing the joy that comes from God's love, true transformation will never occur. There would not be "life in all its fullness."
So that's what we want to do this December. Joy isn't about simply giving money so someone else can share it, but about building it into the fabric of our everyday lives.
We want to invite you into a season of sharing joy.
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After a recent church meeting, my housemate gave me a fascinating compliment. He told me that I take criticism well.
I had just announced that I planned to transition from official leadership of our Young Adult group into a supporting role, freeing up my time for other ministry-related activities. The feedback I heard over and over again was the refrain, "I think that's a good idea because your heart just wasn't in it."
It was true. I knew that a pastoring role isn't what God has designed me for, but that's not what anyone wants to hear. As a human with emotions and desires of verbal affirmation, my preferred response would have been understanding of what I’d put into the group, grateful for that commitment.
There was no "thank you."
So while I was disappointed that none of my friends encouraged me, an interesting thought crossed my mind. I realized that maybe nobody said "thank you" because what I gave to the group isn't what they really wanted from me. God used me in many ways for this ministry, and I don't regret what He did through my life. But what my friends saw was that my heart wasn't in it. I was sharing certain values, but not necessarily what they valued. From their perspective, I was sharing burden, not excitement.
For me, that was an incredible lesson to learn: What you share is a direct reflection on what you value.
I knew that a new group needed a vision and consistency, so that's what I gave. As time went on, that consistency turned into a burden, and in the end that's what people saw. So here's a question for you: what do you value?
Do you, like I did, value the completion of strategic tasks? Or do you value sharing God's love in a personal way? I'm not saying we should not have vision and consistency, but we do need to be intentional about how we share ourselves. That's why John 10:10 is such a powerful verse. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." God wants us to have a full life, a life of joy. In turn, we should share that joy with others.
Every day from today until Christmas, we’ll be posting a new blog challenging you to share joy with the people around you. Designed as an Advent calendar (which you can print out to help track your progress), check back for each day’s new challenge and story, and share with us how you’ve shared joy by commenting!
At the top: Jump for joy! After 7 days, child survivors of October’s earthquake in the Philippines play with World Vision staff in the open field and share their smiles and stories. (Photo: 2013 Orlando Ducay Jr./World Vision)
World Vision’s Gift Catalog is filled with gift ideas that can help share joy with children and communities all around the world. Choose your favorite and give today!