God’s word on sharing
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Last week, we began a two-part series on sharing. This week, we will be specifically looking at various scriptures showing us what the Bible has to say to us today about this subject.
Last week, we left off with scriptures from Proverbs 11:25, Psalm 37:21 and Ephesians 4:43. We also looked at Matthew 7:12, as Jesus spoke to the people on what we know today as The Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you … ”
Today we are beginning with more scripture from Matthew. These words were spoken by Jesus as he addressed the crowd on the Mount of Olives. We are particularly look at chapter 25:34-40, where Jesus was speaking about the last judgment.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in; I needed clothes and you clothed me; I was sick and you looked after me; I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘When did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’.”
Jesus tells us that when we are kind, when we share with others, it is like we are doing it for him, for God sees our good works toward others and counts them as doing good for him.
In Proverbs 19:17, we find these words that reiterate what Jesus said to us in Matthew: “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
As we continue to look at the blessedness of sharing, we also find these words of Jesus in Matthew 6:1-4: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets. Truly, I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
These words speak loudly to those who are sharing people. It’s not necessary to tell others what you are doing, unless you are speaking to someone about how you share in order to encourage them to do likewise.
Jesus tells us that by announcing our good works in a boastful, prideful way to others, we already have our reward. This kind of reward doesn’t really do us any good, because we are asking others to judge us; and they will, by either looking up to us or by being jealous of us.
Instead, Jesus tells us that the rightful way to do good for one another is not to boast about it afterward.
Again, we can use our sharing to encourage others but not to highlight ourselves. By doing our good deeds in secret, without looking around to see if others are watching, God, who sees everything, will give us his blessing.
In Romans 12:15-16, we find more along these lines: “Rejoice with them who rejoice, and weep with them who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Mind not high things, but speak as an equal to persons of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
God created us to be equal. Although we are all in various states of life — some rich, some poor, some in the middle — we should never act or even feel that we are better than anyone else. A person who is rich can become poor. A person who is poor or in the middle class can become rich. It is not our wealth or lack of it that defines who we are; it is instead our attitudes toward one another.
Finally, I offer you this verse from James 2:14-17 that speaks of faith and sharing: “My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it?
“Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, ‘Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!’ What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs?
“In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.”
We all have the opportunities to share what we have with others. Saying joyful words and walking away from someone in need is not taking action. It is not helping. James tells us that faith must include action to be real faith. And that action needs to show real caring for one another.
Today, I leave you with these words to consider from Hebrews 6:10: “God isn’t unjust so that he forgets your efforts and the love you have shown for his name’s sake when you serve and continue to serve God’s holy people.”
God sees our works of encouragement, of helpfulness and of sharing with our fellow human beings. We don’t need to show off our good works in order to justify ourselves. God loves to bless us as we humbly share out of our own abundance to help someone in need.