Learning to Share

bigsaleWhen we were young, really young, as toddlers and in preschool, we were told to share with others. For some of us, those who didn't learn to share so easily, we were told this a lot. Did we learn? My bet is we're still working on it. I know I am. Why is it so hard to learn how to share? In America, the land of consumerism, it's not like we don't' have enough stuff. Think about how many people have televisions, cell phones, cars, computers, and so on. I've visited plenty of nations where poverty is at a critical level. Even the poor in America are better off than most of the poor in the rest of the world.** We've got a lot of stuff and we could share some of it without any great loss.

So why is it so hard to share with others? Oh...maybe you think it's not so hard. Ok, think of a prized possession, it doesn't have to be of great value, just important to you, even something of sentimental value that can't be replaced. Imagine giving it away. How about lending it to someone and never getting it back? Be honest, gut-level honest. It's not as easy as we'd like it to be or think it should be, is it?

Not so long ago, my wife gave away a pair of my flip-flops to a young man who had no shoes. Mind you, these cost me all of $2.50. They weren't of great value to me, but they were to him. At first I was upset that she didn't ask me first. After all, they were mine not hers! Then it hit me. I could easily live without them. Still…I did really like their color and design...just kidding. I could buy another pair and I had another pair at the house. He had no shoes at all.

I've given away plenty of things and money over the years, and really not lost anything at all. In fact, many times I was blessed in the process of giving. I've loaned things expecting them back, and been disappointed more than once. The truth is, it is not natural for us to share. Why? Because we are intrinsically selfish. It (selfishness) is built into us. We didn't learn it. Sharing is something we need to learn, because it is not natural to us. Ask any preschool or kindergarten teacher.

This is what stands out about the early church we read about in the book of Acts. Sharing with others seemed natural to them. Keep in mind this was at a certain point in time. Later as the church grew (in Acts 6:1-7), they also had to deal with the problem of how to share.

What was the key to their sharing and having "all things in common" (Acts 2:44)? Was it because they did the four things mentioned in Acts 2:42? Was it right theology and sound doctrine? Uniform beliefs and practice? The power of the Holy Spirit? Was it all of the above or any of the above?

Why does the quest exist to find the perfect formula or model? I have my own opinion, but now's not the time. It's as if we humans (believers and non believers) think we can find a golden key to unlock some elusive and golden human potential that will bring world peace and harmony. It ain't gonna happen. Not that way, anyway.

44 And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common; (Acts 2:44 AMP) 32 Now the company of believers was of one heart and soul, and not one of them claimed that anything which he possessed was [exclusively] his own, but everything they had was in common and for the use of all. (Acts 4:32 AMP)

The simple truth is that the early church were all believers in one person—Jesus the Messiah. This is what united them and made them of one heart and soul.

I was reminded once again, during a time of corporate worship, that focusing on Jesus—the Messiah, Savior, Son of God, Lord of all—is the key to unity among people (God's people). It brings a oneness of mind and heart because we aren't thinking about ourselves, or our stuff.

What about you…do you find it easy or difficult to share with others (be honest, not philosophic)? *Do* you share with others on a continuing or frequent basis?

If it's difficult, maybe it's a time for a change of heart and mind. A change only God can bring about by His gracious love.

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** In America, many government and private sector programs exist to assist the poor. In most of the rest of the world (MOTROW), government and NGO assistance for the poor is either very limited or nonexistent.