Thursday, April 23, 2009
"If you have two coats, give one to someone who has none. If you have food you must share some." Luke 3:11
One of the hardest things about being a parent is loving our three daughters equally and at the same time, providing each unique individual the kind of attention and support they needed. When we bought gifts at birthdays and Christmas we tried to make sure they each got the same amount. Each of our daughters is a beautiful and talented individual with a strong personality and lots of interests. When interests overlapped, we tried to give them things they could share. Sharing isn't always easy, although it is expected in families. Sometimes they fought over things and sometimes they fought over attention. I remember fighting with my siblings in just the same way when I was young. Equity and sharing are expected and normal in families, but they are not necessarily natural to our humanity. We have to learn how to share, learn how to trust one another, and learn how to live feeling loved and appreciated for who we are. In some families it happens but all too often, one child gets favored or excluded. Competition and protective hoarding result. Fear and protection become motivating factors.
John has just told folks that they cannot hide behind their inheritance in the family of God. They ask him what they can do and he responds with the obvious and simple suggestion of giving a coat and sharing food. They simply have to repent and share in order to return to the family of God. That doesn't sound like a hard task. And yet for some, who have either built their identity on their own skill, or who have been hurt by those who excluded them, sharing is hard. Hoarding can be a normal response to fear and pain. John offers us all a simple way to start over and yet it is easier said than done.
Today I pray that I can give away so that I might see my life in the family of God more clearly. It doesn't come easy for me, but I want to work on letting go of the things so I can make room for the relationships. I ask God to renew me in such a way that I no longer see myself by the things around me but as a member of the family of God. May we all have the courage today to let go and give away those things which stand in the way of love, the things that impede us from loving God and one another.