As you decide on where you will spend your vacation, you browse the internet, looking at pictures and reading about the sites and things you can do. You read the reviews left by others, looking at how many stars they gave to rate their experience. You talk to friends about their favorite places to go. And when you’ve read it all, you choose, even with some apprehension.
Once you’ve made your selection, you go. Your experience is beyond what you expected. The scenery is breathtaking. The food is some of the best you’ve ever tasted. The service at the hotel is fabulous. You take hundreds of photos so that you can remember what it was like, and to show your friends and family. The week comes to a close and you journey home.
“Well, how was it?” your friend asks. You struggle to describe what you saw, felt, and tasted. You show them your pictures, but it doesn’t seem to quite do it justice. The colors were more vibrant. It doesn’t capture the feeling that you felt, or the smells of the market. You wish you could relive it with them.
Change of scenes. You’ve accepted Jesus as you Lord and Savior. Now what? What will change in your life? You ask your new Christian friends about what it’s like. You begin reading your Bible regularly. You browse the internet, looking for others who have accepted Jesus and try to get some indication as to what you can expect.
As you step out to live your day to day life, things begin to feel different. Things you used to enjoy don’t entice you as they once did. You rethink how you do many things. Things that you once would have done with no second thoughts, you now questions the ethics of them.
People you once hung out with no longer ask you to go out with them. “You aren’t as much fun as you used to be when you drank.” Your idea of a good concert isn’t who they want to go see. “Why don’t you want to come over and watch ‘Big Brother’ anymore?” You try to explain, but they just don’t get it.
But these changes are more than okay with you. You are experiencing things that you never have before. The scenery is breathtaking. You see people being helped, loved, and cared for. You receive hugs from strangers showing their gratitude for what you’ve done for them. The words you hear are ones of encouragement. Your new friends are sincere, and there to support you when you are experiencing difficulties. You find yourself eating with others more often, and while it may not be the greatest food, the time and conversations are the best. The service? Well, it’s you doing the serving, and you try to make it fabulous. This isn’t a week long thing, heading back to work when it’s over. It’s an everyday thing.
As our world changes, we are becoming more and more isolated. Instead of talking to each other, we text. Instead of getting together, we share posts on Facebook. Just as sharing our pictures of vacation with others, they can’t get the full understanding of what you experienced. You have to be there. God meant for us to have these experiences. He wants us to spend time together in fellowship; talking, listening, and loving one another. While we are to learn from our Bible reading, we are also to learn through our experiences. We are to also use these experiences as tools to teach others. These become our story. They are our way of sharing with others what Christ has done in our lives. It helps them to not make the same mistakes we made. It also helps them know that they aren’t going through something that someone else hasn’t experienced.
Savor and learn from the experiences you have today, this week, and for the rest of your life. Share these with others, strengthening them, and showing God’s love in all you do.