Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Learning To Be Generous

Acts 2:44

All the believers were together and had everything in common.

I just attended the graduation ceremony for my two five-year-old granddaughters. We saw picture after picture on the big screen of children sharing and having a great time. Children from all walks of life – from various communities – and from diverse races. Children don’t care about our differences as much as their parents do. Children just care if someone is nice and plays nice. I wish we adults could learn something from our children.

Most children learn early in life to share – especially if they have siblings. When they are very young – sharing is something they learn or should learn. It may not come naturally to us all – but thru time and training – most of us learn to share. We take turns in games – we learn to share our crayons and other materials. I know my daughters taught this to our grandchildren – even sharing with their cousins after they learned to share with their siblings. Now – they wouldn’t think of letting a classmate go without if they had something and could share.

At some point – blame it on our parents – on our environment – or the sin nature within us – we become selfish and many of us begin to hoard things. We end up with way more shoes than we need or purses – or suits – or jeans – or cars – or whatever we collect. Some of us get jobs that pay us amazing salaries and some of us either save lots or purchase lots. Luke 12:13-21 – 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’  20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Do we have more than we need to hoard or maybe to share? Do we have more than we need because we are better than others? Luke 12:48b – From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Some of us have a hard time sharing because we believe that everyone could have what we have if they just worked as hard as we have. There may be some truth to that thought – some do not work as hard as others to achieve or accomplish in life. Some do have the mentality that someone owes them – they live on entitlements or the backs of others. But that is a small number I think. Some of us have been blessed beyond our abilities.

If we lived in a perfect world – the society we lived in wouldn’t measure a person’s worth by dollars and cents but according to the hard work for the community. For instance – why are our teachers valued less (dollar and cents worth) than TV or movies stars. Are not the contributions of our teachers more important to us as a society than our entertainment? What about the value placed on our first responders versus our ball players? If the culture values your job more than someone else’s job – should we just bank on our blessing or use it to help others come up to a certain level of living?

My wife is constantly trying to get me to be more generous with the blessings God has given us over the years. Raised by parents and a grandmother that often lived hand-to-mouth – I have saved my whole life. My wife wants me to begin to spend before we are too old to enjoy it or others are able to enjoy it. Not knowing how much we will need to live and how long we will live and under what circumstances is always a barrier to being generous with what we have saved.

Am I making any sense or simply confessing that I have trouble sharing my stuff? Today’s passage says – in the early church – all believers were together and had everything in common. What I imagine is that they all worked – and whatever value their culture placed on their contributions – they shared so that the poorest hard-working family had enough because the wealthier hard-working families shared. A communal setting that really worked. Of course – they all had to be hard working – Paul told them – 2 Thessalonians 3:10 – For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We all need to be more generous and to share and to use what God has given us to bless God and others. We need to learn to be more generous!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

May 21, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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