No one had to teach us as two-year-olds to be selfish with our toys. “Mine!” was one of the first words out of our mouth. Sharing was hard with our siblings, harder at the neighborhood playground and harder still with total strangers in the public park.

Not much changed after we grew up. We might be willing to share what we have with our immediate family (or even our spiritual brothers and sisters in the family of God), but we’re less likely to do that in our neighborhood and even less likely with total strangers especially if they don’t share our skin color, political views or lifestyle. Farther out are those who wronged us, those who wish us harm – our declared enemies.

The further away someone sits in our circles of trust and care, the less we are prepared to share with them. It’s perfectly logical. Limited trust, limited care and limited sharing is how we ensure that we have enough to meet our own needs, that we don’t get taken advantage of, that the world is fair and equitable, that there are appropriate boundaries and limits in our society.

And yet, Jesus keeps upending our well-established system. The older son has to put up with the prodigal’s son unconditional reinstatement. The early workers in the vineyard get paid equally to those who joined at the end of the work day. The Messiah doesn’t dethrone the occupiers, he lets them execute him without having a committed crime. The “neighbor” now includes foreigners and strangers. The “family” of God now includes both Jew and Greek, master and slave…

The logic that determines Jesus’ words and actions is so different from ours, because it is rooted in a different reality. It’s the reality of the Kingdom of God where favor is unmerited, where love is not reciprocal but unconditional, giving is better than receiving, where blessings are shared with irrational generosity… where we can share freely because the supply of “toys” is as unlimited as the Creator himself…

Even though I am still in this world, it’s the reality of the Kingdom of God I want to live in. God, give me an opportunity to do that today.

Outreach Pastor

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