“All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.” – Acts 2:44-45
My son and daughter were born 20 months apart and so played together as children. Before I was a parent I imagined that the solution to sibling competition over toys was to give them each the same one. So, for example, if you gave one of them a colorful ball, you would also give the other one an identical ball. As reasonable as this sounds, it didn’t work. Apparently there is something highly acquisitive hardwired into the human condition. It turns out that both children wanted both balls. I’m tempted to reference a certain Christian doctrine here, but I’ll hold back.
So responsible parents need to teach their children how to share. I grew up before the days of Sesame Street, but my children came along at the right time, and I watched many episodes with them.
One of my favorite bits was Cookie Monster contemplating a cookie with great anticipation, when a sad-eyed little girl enters the scene and stares at him and his cookie. Whichever side of him she moves to, he turns his head to avoid her imploring gaze. He wants to eat the cookie, but he just can’t do it. Finally he breaks the cookie in half and shares it with the girl. Looking into the camera he says loudly, “SHARE!” Then he eats his half of the cookie. When the girl eats her half, she wolfs it down just like Cookie Monster.
The early churched shared. The Book of Acts presents an idealized view, but even if there was never quite that level of sharing, it should give us Jesus-followers pause about the way we live now, both in church and society.
We thank you for all the ways you provide for us. Help us to love as Jesus loved. Help us to share as Jesus shared. Amen.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.