July 31, 2016 | Matthew 19: 16-22 | Rev. Nancy Talbot –
(Show Video clip from Animate Practices: The Joy of Sharing)
Shane Claiborne speaks in this video about a theology of enough. In my own experience, travelling in countries where the majority of people have far fewer possessions than I do has really pushed me to wrestle with that question “just how much do I need to have enough?”
The problem of course is that often how much we have or don’t have ends up determining whether or not we feel like we are enough. So sometimes we think we need more stuff than we do because we wonder who we would be without what we have.
I once heard a story about a wealthy man who set up a foundation to give his money away and lived so simply he had not much more than a begging bowl. One day someone who knew him noticed that he was shivering so she approached him to ask if he would like her to find him a warmer coat. The man replied that as he grew older he wondered from time to time if he needed to buy a new cooking pot or a new coat and he always asked himself first “can I life without it?”
I wonder if that’s the real key to knowing how much is enough in life. Knowing what we can and can’t live without.
Let’s take a moment in silence to answer that question for ourselves? How do you know when you have enough? And maybe a second question might be what helps you to know that you are enough?
TIME FOR REFLECTION
If the amount of stuff that gets dropped off at the Thrift Shop every day is any indication, most if not all of us here today do have more than enough of what we need to live on.
As I was thinking about the topic of generosity and sharing this week I remembered a sermon I heard preached by Rev. Don Robertson over 20 years ago now. He was preaching on the passage in the Luke’s gospel that says if you have two shirts give one away. He then asked how many of us had coats in our closets that we were no longer wearing. And then he said “If you have clothing in your closet you are not wearing it does not belong to you, it belongs to someone else. Give it away.” I think the reason that sermon has stayed with me is because he was so directive with us, just like Jesus often is.
Later in the video Shane Claiborne talks about how we are made for love and sharing and if you think about how we are made in the image of God that makes perfect sense doesn’t it. He also talks about how we all have hurdles that keep us from sharing what we have: we worry we’ll come up short if we give too much away; we think we might need something down the road so we hang onto it a bit longer; we simply don’t know what might be of help to other people.
What would help you to share more freely? Think about it for a moment and then maybe one or two people would say something about that to us…
TIME FOR REFLECTION
In the final section of this session on the Joy of Sharing Shane Claiborne gives a number of examples of big and little ways he’s witnessed people creating communities of generosity that help them to love their neighbour as they love themselves…
- In the US there’s a group of people who have pooled their money to pay medical bills for people who can’t afford to pay their bills
- Someone else has set up an education fund into which they match every dollar they pay out for their children’s education
- There’s a community that live on a cul de sac who have a tool share.
Turn to the people beside you: what are some ways you have shared with others? What are some ways others have shared with you? Which felt better?
TIME FOR SHARING
We’ve been talking about possessions today but perhaps the greatest thing we have to share with one another is ourselves. Think about one thing you might do this week to practice sharing yourself with others… maybe you will phone a friend, or give someone a ride or share a cup of coffee with someone. Each one of us has been given the gift of life, we are gifts that are meant to be shared so that the realm of heaven may indeed be known here on earth.
- Being grateful
- The regular practice of giving – the teachings of the bible