One Sunday I arrived at Church after several weeks of absence. I was pleasantly surprised by the topic ‘Who is your neighbour?’ I was running late that day, but at least I got there in time to hear our pastor’s wonderful sermon. Ps Peter’s sermons usually strike a chord with me, but that Sunday it made the bells chime!
I always thought that those in society who are financially well off, or indeed extremely wealthy, would find it a lot harder to find peace and ultimately achieve paradise, with our heavenly Father. I was wrong on two accounts.
Firstly, being rich need not necessarily mean having vast amounts of money in the bank. We can be rich in so many ways, whether it is our good health, our beautiful family, friends, a flower garden we have the joy to tend each day or a myriad of other things. Some people are born blind or have lost their sight, and are unable to see the perfect creations in the same way that many of us can. Some people are deaf and can never hear a sound … like the trickling and tinkling the rain water makes as it cascades down from the gutter, or the early morning greetings we receive from the persistently chirping birds. But did you know that these are often the people that show the most gratitude, are the happiest, and the most generous?
Secondly, just because many of us are rich, doesn’t mean that we are not expected to enjoy these riches. Whether it is money or good health, a beautiful home, wonderful friends, an amazing talent, or any number of things, we must show gratitude for what we have by thanking the ultimate source of our wealth … then paying it forward. We must share with others.
There were five discussion points around healthy and sincere sharing.
Eat: We all need to eat. Jesus loved to eat. He was always breaking bread with
someone. When He went to people’s homes He didn’t immediately break into a full-scale sermon and bible-bash those present into submission. No, He ate and drank with these people in their homes, and got to know them.
Yes Jesus was a real foodie. Ah, we have so much in common. In the same way, we need to open our hearts and homes to others and share our gifts. Truly get to know the hearts and minds of our neighbours so that maybe one day they will think ‘what is it about these Christians, why are they so generous with their time, and why are they so impossibly happy? There must be more to this.’ Listen… really listen. We all love to talk, but there are times when we must just
zip it, and listen carefully, whether it is to others or just being quiet and still, listening to what is taking place around us.
Tell our story. When people are ready to hear about our Jesus, they don’t want
to have Bible Verses quoted to them, or perhaps be encouraged to learn specific prayers off by heart. No, they want to hear our story. When did we feel a calling? Have we always been ‘just Christian’ and never given it much thought? Are there any difficult life challenges through which we’ve been assisted by prayer? Tell our story without becoming religious. Real people want to know about people who are just the same as themselves. Once we share our stories, they may feel safe enough to share theirs.
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NLT)
Celebrate! That’s right jump for joy, sing whatever song is in your heart, and
enjoy the beautiful gifts and life that God has given us. Get into party mode … but remember to share the joy.
Relax. This maybe one of the most important points. Often we are so busy doing life that we forget the importance of rest, let alone having the energy it would take to listen, eat, talk, and share generously and graciously with others.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” ~ John 15:10-12
It’s so easy to walk by without noticing. Will I notice when my heart is needed most? Will you?
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” ~ Mother Teresa
As we bustle through each day between now and Christmas, getting organised, getting everything just right, let's try to remember that Christmas is about love and sharing, and not about always getting it right, or being right.
I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below and share some thoughts with me. God bless, wishing everyone a joyful and blessed Christmas.
PS: Josephine-Anne hopes you won't mind that she's recycled this post from a Christmas past. Life takes over sometimes, however she felt this post was worth resurrecting.
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