Bye-bye, selfish hoarder

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By Jessica Brodie

I placed my tightly tied plastic bag in the office refrigerator, my name written in bold black on a bright yellow sticky note taped front and center.

No way was someone going to mistakenly steal my lunch.

Of course, no one did. But the urge to protect what was “mine,” to hoard and keep it safe, ran strong in my young self. You could try to explain it away—I was twenty-one and didn’t know better, I was short on cash, it was my first professional job—but the hard reality was inescapable: Generosity was not one of my virtues.

It never had been, either. Even as a kid, I had “my crayon box” and “my money envelope.” If my sister ran out of cash at the fair, too-bad-so-sad. Her impulsiveness or lack of planning wasn’t my problem.

Time, however, not to mention a Christian heart and motherhood, has softened me. Very little of what I have today I claim as “mine,” and that doesn’t bother me at all. If I’m thirsty and about to take my last sip but my daughter asks for my water bottle, I hand it over. Sharing food is no big thing. Tithing at church, which used to seem absolutely bizarre to me (why in the world would I give ten percent of my hard-earned income away?), is now second nature. Once a coworker admired a bracelet I was wearing, and without even thinking about it I slipped it off and passed it over.

It all comes down to a shift in perspective. Nothing is mine. It’s all God’s. And as our savior Jesus Christ explains in Luke 10, loving God means loving my neighbor as myself.

That means real generosity. That means sharing. That means not hoarding, even if I want to. That means loosening my grip and letting go.

In the book of Hebrews, the writer reminds us, “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices” (Hebrews 13:16 CEB).

Sacrifice means giving of oneself, being generous. It means loving others as much as—if not more than—ourselves.

God’s son shared his very life with us—in fact, gave up his very life for us—because he loves us. That’s the kind of sacrifice we are to imitate.

Being a Christian means sharing, generosity, and sacrifice—not selfishness, possessiveness, or hoarding.

Let me know in the comments below: Do you struggle with selfishness like I do? What are some tips you can share about being more generous and Christ-like? 

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