This little word re. its ethic has caused wars -and helped end them bringing people in need who were once enemies, together. The basis of true need and that need at least in part being met by another is certainly in the glue that holds together marriage, family, church and indeed any authentic and lasting sense of community.
As I again pondered the domination of wealth, then parcels of land, all a given part would yield, then the reality most wars at core have had to do with the wealthy/powerful and their use and deployment of military power or simply buying off those who would support them this word leapt out at me.
Share, sharing, communion, community. Unity. The Trinity.
God shares Himself with us, there is a complete unity within the Godhead, utter love and yes, sharing.
To hoard, fence off, to foundationally exclude with the deepest desire to deny connection with “the other” is clearly not core to the nature of the God Who seeks, who seeks to save, who invites, desires fellowship with rebellious sinners, misfits, broken, disowned and rejected people.
Does He call -anything- sin, anyone a sinner? Yes. But His aim is moving toward rather than away from… reconciliation not ignoring nor obliteration of His enemies. “Whosoever will, let them come.”
God calls ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE TO REPENT, including His Own. It starts with we professing Christians, not “them over there.”
It could not be clearer in The Bible that He is not in complete agreement with any flawed, rebellious sinner or even with His chosen people in all their ways… yet loves, seeks after and yes, SHARES Himself and more with them.
As I thought through this I found:
While some of the verses in such a format may seem to not relate, I think the first 17 nail it, and the last two of these include Jesus’ words in John 3.16 “For God so LOVED that He GAVE…” and then a verse I’ll comment on further here.
“They” are you and I dear reader.
If you breathe, have eyes or ears to read or hear my very words it is due to God’s grace, mercy and His sharing posture, His Giving these to you!
Now I ask you what I ask myself- how are we reflecting this fundamental part of His nature in our thoughts, words and practice, in our interactions with our fellow human beings?
2 Corinthians 9.7 is often quoted as a reason to NOT give, the idea that sharing must not be compelled. That’s not the point of Paul’s statement.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
There has rarely been a tax levied by any government that most people would not gladly avoid… so the concept is that we don’t have to share if our heart does not bring us to choose giving out of love? What people really mean when they take such an attitude is that they only must give when they agree with the people, the cause/s and the use of their wealth. Really? Is that the example we get from Jesus? From God our Father?
Paul may as well have quoted James, or John in one of his three letters to the churches. God loves, He calls us to be like Himself.
To love means sharing what you have -wealth or service of any sort- out of God’s love in and through you. “Don’t have an attitude of hoarding, of clutching after wealth, security (which must be in God, not the bank, or the status of that stuff). Share what you have with others.” In other words, check your heart, then give. Paul also intimates “Don’t be condemned if it seems you don’t have much to give! Give what you are able. God is pleased with your offering!” Remember the widow whom Jesus honored, the lady who had very little -but gave it to God? Like that.
What Paul is NOT saying is “If you feel compelled by a government or you don’t think someone is worth it, DON’T GIVE because your heart isn’t in it”. Sadly, 2 Cor. 9.7 is misused as a spiritual legal loophole for people seeking to be quite unlike Jesus WHO GAVE ALL FOR US SINNERS.
It is a sad, sick, immature and spiritually hard-hearted church when we withhold mercy on the basis of avoiding Christ’s command to love on the basis of “OTHER’S IRRESPONSIBILITY” when in fact we ourselves are being patently irresponsible with all we have- all GIFTS GOD SHARES WITH US TO BE SHARED WITH OTHERS.
Responsible stewardship? Share. Give. Then again you could just bury it in a napkin or build a bigger barn…
Something to think about on the journey?
As always, thanks for stopping by!