by Erica Blevins-Nye
Re-blogged from: Connect-Engage-Inspire
Erica Blevins Nye (upper-right corner) finds energy through sharing the message of Jesus Christ with young adults.
I’m naturally an introvert. Sharing in community is difficult for me.
At times I’m envious of extroverted people. Interaction with others typically energizes them, making compassionate ministries and inviting people to Christ feel more natural. They assume people want to hear what they have to say and share their perspectives liberally.
We introverts often find ourselves drained by extended interaction with others—even people we care about. I have to rally myself to make new friends. Sometimes it’s even a challenge for me to chat with people before or after church.
I like to imagine Jesus as an introvert. Perhaps he was; we don’t know. The gospels describe him as frequently thronged by crowds that were pleading for healing and teaching. In these settings he did more than pass out blessings and truth. He offered servant ministry just by extending himself to interact with others. I can relate to that.
Whether he was introverted or not, one reason I follow Jesus is because he proclaims hope for the coming kingdom of God. And the kingdom comes when we reach beyond ourselves to embrace others.
Jesus extended himself in expanding concentric circles of community, dismissing boundaries as he went. It started with breaking his personal boundary, maybe one that would prefer privacy and the simplicity of solitude. He built an intimate community of 12 disciples and friends. Just keeping up with them was probably an effort.
Then he extended himself to the Jewish community. Then crowds of diverse followers. Then the circle of skeptical outsiders who hovered at a distance. Then even to those hostile toward him.
Jesus demonstrated an important element of the kingdom of God. He redefined “brother and sister” and “neighbor.”
Though I often am tempted to retreat into quiet seclusion, Jesus’ example of sharing freely in community inspires me. I much prefer sharing in a few close, intimate relationships—like sisters, best friends, or a spouse. I could even do 12, on a good day.
But Jesus challenges me and all of his followers to widen our circles. We can bravely extend ourselves to all people as “brother and sister” to see the kingdom together.