Yesterday my friend, mentor, high school Young Life leader, and life-long favorite person Julie Jones called me to share a verse from the Bible with me. I met Julie as a freshman in high school. She was a freshman in college at the time and she quickly became a very influential person in my life. She cared about me, bought me lots of lattes and introduced me to Jesus. Since high school our relationship has been long distance, especially since a few months before I graduated college Julie suggested I move down to San Luis Obispo, California to be a part of the same church as her brother Jason and sister-in-law Hannah…and I actually did it. Crazy.
But over the past eleven years Julie has become one of those staple people in my life that I know I can always turn to no matter what. So, on days when she calls me just to say hi or to share a Bible verse with me, I do my best to drop what I’m doing and pick up the call.
Yesterday when she called she turned my attention to Philemon 1:6. There’s only one chapter in Philemon so it’s easy to find this verse. It says:
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. (NIV)
Then I found that the 2011 updated NIV translation states:
I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
I love this verse, both NIV versions of it, and I started memorizing them this morning while I was putting on my make up. Because whether it is sharing our faith with those who don’t yet know Christ or sharing our lives with those that do, we are deepening our understanding of every benefit, blessing and joy we have as a follower of Christ. Because God has given us a mission and people to live on mission with and when we engulf our lives in the mission and link arms with our teammates we will begin to understand all the good things God has for us.
I’m finding comfort in Philemon 1:6 today because at times I fret about feeling like I should be somewhere in a third world country living amongst different people, doing different things than I do in America and sacrificing comfortable things for a bed of dirt and straw. And I’m open to that. Sometimes I desperately pray for the opportunity to do that. But today, I sense that the Lord is asking me to trust him with my future endeavors and for today, in the meantime, my focus should be on sharing Christ with whoever he places in my path and on being a great friend and family member to those on the “Dream Team” that God has orchestrated.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2Peter 3:9)
Here’s a picture of Julie and her three beautiful blondies: Olivia, Isabella and Emi. I think this picture accurately captures the kind of person I know Julie to be: fun, friendly and goofy. In high school her goofiness always made me feel free to be myself around her. I know her kids are very blessed because they’re growing up with lots of love, fun and with a mom that loves Jesus more than anything.
Who is the “Julie” in your life? What kind of impact has this person had on you?