September is here! It’s back to school for the kids and back to reality for the rest of us. But blowing in on the crisp fall air is a fresh excitement, including sweaters and boots, football season, and pumpkin spice everything. Yay! But, most importantly, September is “the month of me!” Woo Hoo! (kidding, not kidding).

Ok, so maybe I’m a little enthusiastic about my birthday month, but this year, even more so. This is the first time celebrating since I learned in Israel (from our wild and wise tour guide, and “simple math”) – Jesus was also born in September! And even though I’m not usually so great at sharing, I’m honored to now call September “the month of Jesus and me”. After all, I love the Lord and “sharing is caring”.

This trademarked phrase of The Salvation Army is commonly used among friends regarding food, implying “if you really love me, you’ll share”. But as for sharing September, isn’t every month, every day “Jesus and me”? I wonder…is it? Is it really? I’d like to think so. But, if a stranger approached me asking for food, like Elijah did with the widow in 1 Kings 17, and I only had enough to feed my own kids one last meal before we died together from starvation, yet that stranger told me to feed him first, would I? I mean…Jesus would. He always put others first. He fed 5,000 strangers with five loaves of bread and two fish. But I’m not Jesus.

And there it is. This is what I need to remember when I’m afraid to give – whether it’s food, time, talent or money – my bin of flour will not be used up, nor will my supply of oil run dry! Why? Because that God of miracles in the Old Testament is the same today. How quickly we forget! The Holy Spirit resides in me and HE is able to supply all my needs according to His riches in glory (which, by the way, never run out). With the childlike faith of the boy who shared his lunch, and as the widow believed to the point of obedience, I need to follow the word of the Lord, spoken through Elijah (I’m paraphrasing here) – “Don’t be afraid. Go ahead and do what you were planning, but first give it to God. See what He can do!”

As He provided for Elijah, the widow and her son, God will always take care of me. He has absolutely stretched my time. It’s true. When I offer my day to God in the morning (not after hours of frustration and getting nowhere), not only do I finish the work I’d hoped to complete, I accomplish even more. God has stretched my finances in this same way, with enough to cover bills and still help others. My family has never faced starvation, and yet I’m stingy with my chocolate stash. Oh, wait…okay, so I need to work on trust in that area. I should seek counseling (“Hey, Michele!”), but you get the idea. You’ve probably heard this a hundred times before, but I’ll say it again ’cause it’s true – we cannot out give God.

Our generous Creator intricately designed each of us, weaving in natural talents to align perfectly with the gifts we’ll receive upon our spiritual birth. This pairing of talents and gifts is our most effective way to share Him with others. For instance, my gifts of faith, encouragement and exhortation fan the flame for my talent of writing. It started with poems at home, took a giant leap into publishing a very personal book, advanced to online devotions with a Christian organization, and now this – writing for our church. Who knew? Together, these are my flour and oil, multiplied by God, to share His beauty, love and power with those who truly hunger.

Sharing is caring because love is action. We are blessed to be a blessing, filled to spill. So, what is God asking of you? Don’t be afraid to hand it over. What’s that thing you do really well, that brings great satisfaction upon completion? What tugs at your heart? Let God be glorified! Offer your gifts and talents back to Him – you are never on your own. Just be aware, God loves to stretch us, like He stretched the oil. Sometimes the task is deathly terrifying (like public speaking – gasp!), but share away! We’re just the vessel – He is the power. Remember, “Jesus and me”, and go for it!

SHINE, always,