Exodus 12:4(NIV) If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.
So what happens when we loosen our hold on our possessions and begin sharing? What happens when we not only share what we have available, but receive what others have to share? What does God do in response to that sort of management?
Let me first say that you have to change the way you look at your stuff. I know several generous people. They love to share what they have. They would love to be able to meet your needs through what they have. But they want to be the ones sharing. They do not want to go without and be the ones dependant on someone else to share. They want to know that when they go to bed at night, they possess everything they will need. It makes them feel good to be able to have excess and share. I have to admit that in many ways, I am this way. I would love to have enough money to meet the needs of so many people, and the resources to bless the many wonderful programs with which I come in contact. But that is not the key to sharing. It needs to be give and receive.
2 Corinthians 8:14 (NLT)
Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal
My husband was given money to give away. Seriously! A friend of ours noticed that he seems to have a knack for allowing God to show him people in need. So the friend started giving him money to give away. At first, my husband said he felt a little weird about giving away someone else's money. He felt like he had to really be careful with how he distributed it, because someone else had entrusted him with the responsibility of managing it. Then it occurred to him that the source was the same. Money, whether it came from his bank account or someone else's, all comes from the same origin. God blesses us with it.
To truly grasp the meaning of sharing, we need to first really let our hearts absorb the fact that it all belongs to God anyways. We need to grab hold of that fact and let it infect every fiber of our being. It is not MY stuff! I'm only managing it. Then it becomes of question of what I believe God would choose as the best use for HIS stuff. What do I choose to do with it? Do my choices honor God? So, I choose to spend money on big toys....What do I do with those toys? He is not against us buying fun stuff. But how do I use what I have? Am I bringing honor to God? Am I glorifying Him in my use of them? Am I using them as a tool to strengthen my relationship with Him? Am I using them as a tool to strengthen my relationship with others? Or am I hindering my growth and relationships through my use of them? Is it any better to just save the money He gives me to manage, or then am I just hoarding?
Once we accept the fact that it is God's money and God's stuff, it becomes natural to share it. We want to do something with it that honors our God, and what better way than to meet the needs of His children?
Matthew 25:40 (NLT) “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Hebrews 13:16 (HCSB)Don't neglect to do good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.
We know that sharing what we have makes God happy. But what else is there to it? What can we accomplish through sharing our possessions.
We will have more. Sounds crazy, but the less we own, the more we will possess. If we are dedicated to sharing, we have access to each others stuff. I don't have to buy a pickup truck for an occasional load of lumber if you are committed to sharing your truck. You don't have to purchase a boat to fish every couple of weeks if I will share mine with you. Every family doesn't have to fork out money for a lawnmower (or two) if we will pool our resources and buy one, or pay a lawn service. Suddenly we all have boats for fishing, and trucks for hauling. As a matter of fact, we don't each have to pour money into a complete wood shop for that occasional project. We can pool tools and equipment into a community shop and share in fellowship while we work.
Which leads me to benefit number two. We will be less wasteful. Okay, not everyone stands in the same position on the whole "Green Living" issue. But whether you are a greenie or not, you have to recognize that we have limited space for landfills. One day we will run out of land to bury our waste. When we share, we produce less waste. One truck, one boat, one lawnmower... You see where I'm going with this. They take up a lot less landfill space than six trucks, boats, and lawnmowers. And less storage space, so we don't need to buy all those sheds!
We can plug into helping in our area of giftedness, and allow others to plug into theirs. Some of us have some areas where we are super handy, and others where we appear to be trying to work with nothing but thumbs. And some of us have physical limitations. For example. My husband mows the yard at least once a week. But every time he does, he needs to take a Zyrtec, wear a mask, and still suffer somewhat for a day afterwards. What if you, my neighbor, like nothing better than to ride your mower? Think of the blessing you could be for my family. What if someone in the neighborhood loves beautiful flowers, but has arthritis? But I love to tinker in the garden. Could I pull her weeds while I am pulling mine? What if we have a few stay at home moms who love to can...and a few working moms? Can canning moms share in the bounty while working moms pick up a pack of diapers from the store they are passing on their way home from work? And you have the added bonus of fellowship with your neighbors as you share in chores. Those are just a few examples, but once you start thinking this way, more will just pop into your head as well.
Here is just one last thing to think about before I end this illustration of sharing. So many of us want to truly make a difference in our communities. We are being bombarded by soaring unemployment rates. Homes are being foreclosed on all around us. People are scared and hungry and they are praying for help. We try to buy some canned goods to distribute at the local shelter. We search for a few coats and blankets to distribute to the homeless in the winter. But with our own limited resources, we can only do so much. The answer is not just to work more to earn more. What if we lived in such a way that we could live off of less, and use the excess to help those people? What if we could, instead of making a small difference in the lives of a couple of people, band together with others to make a huge impact on our community? How many lives could be changed forever? Would ours?
Some verses to chew on:
Psalm 112:9 (NLT)
They share freely and give generously to those in need.Their good deeds will be remembered forever.They will have influence and honor.
Luke 3:11 (HCSB)
He replied to them, "The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same."
Acts 4:32 (NLT)
All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.
Romans 12:13 (NIV)
Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT)
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
1 Peter 4:9 (NLT)
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.