When you were young, one of the first things your parents taught you was to share, especially if you had siblings. If you were anything like me, this was not an easy thing to do because, after all, if someone else is enjoying my things then I don’t get to enjoy my things.
Selfishness has become part of our sinful make-up. Even as babies, this nasty habit rears its ugly head (don’t you dare take that nuke away from me!!). As we grow older our resistance to sharing gets more sophisticated and we make up all kinds of excuses as to why it simply cannot be done.
As Christians, this puts us in a quandary. There we are innocently reading our Bible and we read, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16). We move on to 1 Timothy 6:18 and it says in no uncertain terms, “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share…”
This is about the time that we look back on our own life and see how we have failed this test repeatedly. We recognize the excuses we have given with no real basis. We remember all the times when we knew it was right to share and we didn’t. The guilt machine is running with a full tank as we quickly move on to more excuses to try and remind ourselves that we were justified in some way for our bad decisions.
Jesus was teaching about the act of sharing and He told His students, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do like wise” (Luke 3:11). This is not hoped for, this is expected behavior as children of God. In our world we have millions who have no figurative tunics and we have others with a whole walk-in closet full of them. Our calling as Christ’s own is to share with those who lack and to be satisfied with what we need.
That’s hard to do in our lives of comfort. It’s nice to have twenty pairs of shoes and enough clothes to dress the whole neighborhood, but is it really what we need? It’s nice to be so wealthy that we can afford to throw half our food away but is there a better way to honor God with the blessings he has given us?
Jesus reminds us, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). God is not asking you to give your stuff away to the point of poverty. He is asking you to trust in Him to provide to you even more than you give. He is looking for a willing heart to help His people who have found misfortune but He is also promising that your deeds will not go unnoticed. Those who part with earthly treasures with a charitable heart will find abundant heavenly treasures to replace them.
Just as selfishness is in our worldly DNA, so should sharing be in our spiritual DNA. God has given us the free will to make that decision and will not force upon us anything in this way. We can build up our treasures on earth to try and find temporary enjoyment, or we can be a servant to Christ in our sharing and find everlasting peace.
Isaiah asks the question in Isaiah 58:7, “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? This is a question we must all answer. Where will you look for your reward? Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, forgive us for our selfish attitudes and the excuses we make not to share the bounty You have given us. Teach us to share with those in need and to be like you in our love for others. Amen.