The person who has two shirts must share with the person who has none. And the person with food must share with the one in need. [Luke 3:10-11 (VOICE)]
Early this year, a charity event in our Florida town raised over $11 million in one auction. The top bid was $750,000 for the world’s first 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn ultra-luxury convertible. $720,000 each netted three bidders exclusive access to Napa Valley’s BottleRock music festival along with personalized guitars and several vintage bottles of wine. $400,000 won some lucky person (and nine friends) a cooking class and dinner hosted by celebrity chef Mario Batali and legendary actress Glen Close. For a bid of $320,000, one couple will soar off on a private journey to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Japan and the Philippines. Every year, we watch the private jets fly into town for this event, read accounts of the fabulous dinners that are part of the activities, and gasp at the enormous amount of money spent in the name of charity. It’s obvious the attendees at this impressive event have more than enough to share.
Not everyone who shares, however, has more than enough. I recently heard a teacher explain why her classes do service projects as part of their curriculum. Most of her students are poor inner city kids who have spent the better part of their lives on the receiving end of public aid and charity. She has them volunteer so they learn how good it feels to be on the giving end! They may not have money but, young and able-bodied, they share their time, talents and youthful vigor. Giving empowers them in a way that receiving can’t.
The latest newsletter from a charity we help support included a heartfelt letter of appreciation from a women they helped. Granted our little check played a minor part of what was done for her, but her letter reminded me that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. Feeling fortunate to be a small part of changing a life for the better, I wrote in my gratitude journal, “Thank you, God, for giving us more than enough so we can share with others.” The Holy Spirit quickly convicted me: “Whether in abundance or need, you always have enough to share!”
A boy shared his fish and bread with 5,000, a widow shared the last of her food with Elijah and, for all we know, the Good Samaritan shared his last few shekels when paying the innkeeper. They didn’t have extra—in fact, they didn’t even have enough, but they all shared what they did have. Sharing that improves the human condition is love in action. We are obligated to share and not just in times of abundance or even bare sufficiency. From the ultra-rich to the under-privileged, whether we have a feast or but a few crumbs, a Christian always has more than enough to share.
Thank you, God, for always providing us with enough of something to share with those in need.
To be poor does not mean you lack the means to extend charity to another. You may lack money or food, but you have the gift of friendship to overwhelm the loneliness that grips the lives of so many. [Stanley Hauerwas]