Sharing! It is the most basic of lessons we learn in Pre-School or Kindergarten. For some of us it comes easily. Just put others first. Don’t be possessive of your toys and everything will be alright.
Sounds easy? But then why is it so hard to share still today when we are all grown-up adults. Even nature has a hard time sharing it seems. Here’s an example.
For Christmas this year our grandson Aaron (age 4) received a real tool box with real tools from his Grandpa. Along with this gift came a promise that the next time he was at our house for the day, he and Grandpa would make a bird feeder for Grandma. I have wanted a bird feeder for quite some time to hang on the patio outside my creative corner room. A few weeks later while I was busy writing, the most beautiful little bird feeder was created by one very excited little boy and my wonderfully patient husband. “Don’t look outside. Grandma,” he called down the hallway. “It’s a surprise!” I waited dutifully knowing all along what was transpiring but feigning my astonishment at the odd shaped cut boards and the somewhat straight nails pounded in by a four year old. Finally, it was time. I was ushered outside by a little person tugging on my hand and my heart.
I went out on the patio and there hanging from our pergola was the most perfect little bird feeder ever.
It was quickly filled with seed and then we retreated inside to await the coming of the birds. It took a few days, but eventually the little winter birds found this dining treasure and began to visit often. Each time Aaron comes to visit Grandma and Grandpa we have to take time to refill the feeder so that the birds won’t go hungry.
About a week later, while I was writing in my corner room, Aaron was sitting at the other desk making my lunch from multi-colored play dough. Every once in a while he would stand up and look out the window to watch the birds. All at once he exclaimed, “That’s not very nice!” I asked him what was wrong and he told me that one of the cute little black headed birds was being very mean and was not sharing or allowing any of the other birds to get any of the food. I stood up and joined his vantage point. He was right. Even though the feeder had plenty of food for all the birds to eat, there was one that was hogging all the goods. He would fend off one after another of his flock, not even letting them land on the top or sides. He was being quite insistent as he fluffed up his feathers and flitted here and there warding off would be “sharers.” I have to admit that this annoyed me a bit. I have always thought these little birds were just the cutest birds ever and they were one of the main reasons I had wanted a bird feeder. But here was this guy taking it all and not sharing one tiny morsel of seeds for the other birds.
This got me to thinking about people in general. When we have something wonderful in our life, be it a material possession or an emotional blessing or “good news”, do we willingly share with those around us who might need a boost of encouragement or support. Or do we keep it to ourselves not being willing to give to others what has been so graciously given to us.
Hebrews 13:16 tells us to, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
I know for myself, I am always busy running here and there taking care of work, family, church, etc. Do I neglect to do good? Do I share what I have willingly, unlike the little bird? How does this verse fit in today’s world? How does this look in my world? Chapter thirteen of Hebrews is the climax and grand ending of a unique history book of the Bible. It is filled with stories of faithful followers, starting back in the beginning, then on to Moses and then right up to what God is calling us to do and be as His followers. Starting in Chapter 12 and then ending in Chapter thirteen He gives us a list of attributes that we as the faithful should strive for:
• Being filled with brotherly love
• Showing hospitality even to strangers
• Keeping your marriage holy
• Honoring the leaders of the Church
• Remembering the teachings of the Lord
• Offering up a continuous praise to God
Are these just old-fashioned ideals that have no place in a contemporary world? I would hope not. For by saying that is a true statement then we are, in essence saying that kindness and love are no longer welcome in today’s society and that sharing is a thing of the past.
I have two crayons and you have none. What should I do?
I have a closet full of coats and you are living on the streets. What should I do?
I see you are hurting and alone? What should I do?
For me personally, I am more than willing to share my material possessions and my money, but I struggle with sharing my time. I remember a song from the 80’s by Keith Greene and it said, “God can’t cash out-of-state checks in Heaven. He needs you.” That statement still holds a powerful message to me all these years later. As we are several months into the 2014 year, I am making a personal challenge to myself this year to re-learn how to share. I need to share my time and talents with those around me that have needs. I need to call friends that I haven’t seen for a while and reconnect with their lives. I need to be willing to volunteer at church or at the local warming shelter. I need to recognize that every minute of every day has been given to me by the Master and Creator of time and earth itself. It is not mine to be selfish with. I need to start each day by saying, “Lord show me what you want me to do today with my time” and then I need be willing to put action to my words.
Will you take this challenge with me in 2014? And please, come back often to my corner and share your time challenge journey with me.
Now, I really do need to go outside and feed the birds. Maybe today they will learn to share.