I like Dove chocolate. My favorite is dark chocolate with raspberry. My second favorite is caramel. (Just in case you ever need to know.) As much as I like a good Dove chocolate, I’m usually disappointed with the message inside the wrapper. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but a brief, obligatory-feeling pat-on-the-back such as “Be the first on the dance floor,” “Discover yourself,” or “Lose yourself” fails to inspire me. I’ve become accustomed to simply glancing at the message, expecting very little, but this one made me think:
“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”
It sounds like a simplified version to something I’ve read before…
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s victory parade. God uses us to spread his knowledge everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume. Our offering to God is this: We are the sweet smell of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are being lost. To those who are lost, we are the smell of death that brings death, but to those who are being saved, we are the smell of life that brings life. So who is able to do this work? We do not sell the word of God for a profit as many other people do. But in Christ we speak the truth before God, as messengers of God. (2 Corinthians 2:14-17)
You cannot give to others what you do not have yourself. Sharing “sunshine” requires access to sunshine. Sharing what is good requires access to what is good. Sharing what is godly requires access to God. You can try to make your own sunshine, define your own goodness, and create your own god, but what you extend to others will be a small glimpse of what you actually possess. You cannot extend what you do not possess.
What are you trying to share? What do you possess?
What are you trying to do by your own strength? Are you trying to extend sunshine into others’ lives without having it in your life first or excusing why you don’t need it fully in your life (because you’d rather sacrifice and share than soak it up to be able to extend it later) or hogging it all for yourself without sharing it? It’s not what God intends.
Since we know what it means to fear the Lord, we try to help people accept the truth about us. God knows what we really are, and I hope that in your hearts you know, too. We are not trying to prove ourselves to you again, but we are telling you about ourselves so you will be proud of us. Then you will have an answer for those who are proud about things that can be seen rather than what is in the heart. If we are out of our minds, it is for God. If we have our right minds, it is for you. The love of Christ controls us, because we know that One died for all, so all have died. Christ died for all so that those who live would not continue to live for themselves. He died for them and was raised from the dead so that they would live for him. From this time on we do not think of anyone as the world does. In the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks, but we no longer think of him in that way. If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new! All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with him. God was in Christ, making peace between the world and himself. In Christ, God did not hold the world guilty of its sins. And he gave us this message of peace. So we have been sent to speak for Christ. It is as if God is calling to you through us. We speak for Christ when we beg you to be at peace with God. Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
Why do you do what you do? What is important isn’t what you do. It’s Who you know. It’s not the sun you share. It’s the Son you know.