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God teaches about sharing

God teaches about sharing
God teaches about sharing
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh

Background text: Proverbs 22:9
Devotional text: Philippians 2:3

Today, we are looking at sharing from the perspective of the Bible. We will read some of the many verses that speak to us about how to be sharing people. We will discover what God has to say to us about this subject.

First, let’s look at the word sharing. In its purist form, to share means to selflessly help others without conditions. That means we share because someone has a need, not because we expect something in return.
In Philippians 2:3, Paul wrote these words to the believers in Philippi: “Do nothing out of ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

These words speak of being courteous to one another and that we should not think of ourselves better than the person we help. The truth is, we are all in need at one time or another. It is part of our humanity.

I did some research on the subject of sharing from a psychological viewpoint. I wanted to know if sharing comes naturally to us. What I discovered was there are many points of view on this subject, and they often contradict one another.

Some of the theories support humans as being innately selfish, while others state we are innately sharing people. Both theories show support for their positions.

Those who have researched the subject say that in our modern culture sharing comes naturally to a child who is raised in an environment of sharing. Others say that if you leave a child alone to his or her own devices, they will begin to share with no training necessary.

Personally, I am not convinced of the latter statement. Being a people watcher, I’ve seen screaming children take toys away from another just because they wanted it. I have also seen children easily part with something they have to share with another child.

An example happened just the other day at our local carnival. During the parade, candy was thrown to the crowd of children from some of the floats. My two nephews, both new to this activity, were uncertain about running to the edge of the street to collect the candy. They were happy to show me the one or two pieces they were able to get.

Next to the boys was a family of children who were very active in going out for the candy that was thrown. They had built up quite a collection.

Then, at the end of the parade, one of the boys in the group came over to my nephews with an armful of candy to share with them. The joy on their faces was evident. I suspect the boy who shared with them felt it too.

Do we teach our children to share? Does it come naturally? I don’t think the pyschologists have all the answers, but I do know that we can find many scriptures in our Bibles that speak of the wisdom of God concerning sharing.

These next verses come to us from a man known as John the Baptist. He preceded the coming of Jesus. John the Baptist helped to prepare the way for salvation by asking people to repent of their sins.

In the gospel of Luke 3:10-11, we find the people who were coming to John to be baptized, yet not all were willing to repent of their sinful ways. Some just wanted the assurance of eternal life. It is then John spoke to them about the coming wrath of God for the unrepentant. In response, the people asked him, “What then shall we do?”

To the crowds he answered, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

In verses 12 and 13, when the tax collectors asked what they should do, he answered, “Don’t collect any more than you are required to.”

Then there were some soldiers who asked John the same question. To them he replied in verses 14-15, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely, be content with your pay.”

It was John’s intent to give the people a chance to live rightly as they awaited the coming of their Savior, Jesus. Being good to one another and sharing were part of his advice.

Moving onto the gospel of Matthew 7:9-12, we read these words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or, if he asks for fish will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Does this have a familiar ring to you? It is the very scripture on which is found The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

In this verse alone, Jesus spoke to us a great truth, for if you treat other people like you yourself want to be treated, evil in the world is then overcome by goodness and mercy. The same goodness and mercy that God shows to each one of us.

Here are a few more scriptures to consider as we look at the subject of sharing: “Generous people will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25); “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives” (Psalm 37:21); and “Be kind, compassionate and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:43).

Next week we will continue with God’s word on sharing.