In our previous blog we examined what it means for us as a Christian organisation to share with the world. I’d like to give you a personal view of what this means for me, how it has shaped the way I’ve lived as a Christian, what it has meant in the past and now how it impacts on how I endeavour to lead WorldShare today. Do stay tuned in as we continue to develop this theme over the coming weeks!

Sharing is fairly straightforward to define. The English dictionary puts it in a number of ways:

-to divide food, money, goods, etc. and give part of it to someone else
-to have or use something at the same time as someone else
-to tell someone else about your thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc

However, that gives you no idea as to why I might share, personally.

As a Christian, my sharing is in response to what my Heavenly Father has done for me by sending Jesus to pay the penalty for my sin and opening up the way to ‘fix’ the relationship between a perfect holy God and a less than perfect man! In response to this amazing reality, I want to show my gratitude in at least three ways as I live my life:

Money
I want to be a good steward of the money entrusted into my care by my Heavenly Father; I want to reflect my gratitude for what He has done for me. But don’t we often wonder endlessly about our giving and how much of what we receive we should share with others? Part of the answer to this is to follow the example set by God Himself in that He gave up His one and only Son. I also have responsibilities such as caring for my family but it is easy to get tied up in knots thinking about how much money to give away. Should we give a tithe (10%) as in the Old Testament? Is that before tax, after tax? Should my giving be to my church or split between my church and missions? And shouldn’t my giving mirror the generosity of the One who gave his Son for me? I’ve tussled with these tough questions which have no easy answers and yet we all need to work these things out. Looking at the Bible is a good place to start - 2 Corinthians 8 is a helpful starting place.

Time
This can be considered at many different levels. Not only is it important to think through my own use of time but also how I can share myself for the benefit of others. I spent several years, along with my family, working on the mission field in Nepal, sharing myself and my faith by working with the local people. We often heard comments from other Christians commending us for “giving up so much” to live in remote places with basic facilities, being far away from extended family etc. But here’s the thing: we didn’t really feel we’d given up things at all; through accepting God’s call to this work, there were many blessings for us that we didn’t foresee, both spiritually and physically. We grew in our faith and our trust that God would equip us for the challenges of each day and we saw Him transform lives. How many children do you know who’ve visited over 10 countries before they are 10 years old? Or have travelled high into the Himalayas before they were 5 or were bi-lingual before they were 3? The reality is that we were blessed to have shared ourselves with the world.

Talents / Skills
I count myself privileged to have trained and worked as a Civil and Water Engineer because the opportunities to have shared myself and my skills in this world have been many and varied. Sharing my skills and working within UK communities has been part of this but also sharing my skills in training others, particularly when working overseas for 12 years - it has been and still is a fantastic privilege. But why work at WorldShare? Over my working life I’ve worked both in the commercial and voluntary sectors. I could have remained in the UK doing this but I felt called by God to use my skills for the furtherance of his kingdom elsewhere. Just under 4 years ago, now back in the UK, I felt God was saying to me that it time for a change. I’d spent too long in a role which, although was a training role, wasn’t really making a difference in the world or having an impact for good in people’s lives. It was at this point that I saw an advertisement seeking somebody to head up WorldShare upon the retirement of the long-serving CEO. A phone call with the Chair of Trustees followed, encouraging me to send in an application, and the rest, as they say, is history. However, it is worth noting that this role has used many of the skills and experience I had developed over many years in different roles and places; it is a further encouragement to remember that no experience is wasted in God’s economy. One of the greatest privileges I have in this role is in working with other people, particularly the inspirational ministry leaders in various countries. They share with us and we share with them. And so, the sharing continues…

So, what lies ahead? One of the joys of the Christian life is not always knowing what is around the corner. Any sharing I may do ‘pales into insignificance’ when I compare it to the way our Heavenly Father gave His one and only Son for us.

Alan

Alan Butler, WorldShare CEO

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