Hazelwood – Love; share, give, enjoy
This year we are celebrating our 40th anniversary as a congregation and for those of us who were there in the early days, the “Magic Penny” was a favourite children’s song. The chorus went like this:
“Love is something if you give it away; give it away; give it away. Love is something if you give it away; you end up having more!”
So with that in mind, let’s take a look three more scripture verses from our list of “Ten Ways to Love.”
Share without pretending Ephesians 4: 15
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but I am finding it hard to imagine that we celebrated Christmas a mere month ago. On Christmas Day 2020, while perhaps a bit simpler this time, we most likely exchanged gifts, shared a special meal (with those in our household), or dropped off a special treat of home baking to a neighbour or two. While we were participating in the tradition of giving, did we also find an opportunity to share the Greatest Gift?
As with everything else, it helps when we look at this verse in context. This portion of Paul’s letter, verses 11-16, tells us, first-off, that we are not all alike and therefore that we would not be expected to do the same work. The spiritual gifts with which God has entrusted us are not ours to use for our own glory, but rather to be shared with others for God’s glory. In this way we grow in our strength and understanding of Christ and also of each other. As we mature in our faith, the whole body of Christ is built up and we are better able to recognise, for ourselves and others, false teaching. If your gift is one of hospitality, then share the Good News through your hospitality – do not pretend to be a preacher. It is these acts of sharing without pretending that will bring others closer to the cross and strengthen the body of Christ here on earth.
Give without sparing Proverbs 21: 26
This one makes much more sense when read in context with the verse previous to it. So here is the complete couplet from the NIV.
“25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. 26 All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.”
The “sluggard’s” objective is to grab up as much for themselves as they possibly can with as little effort as possible. This is definitely not sharing without pretending. In fact the verse tells us they will find no satisfaction in this; only a constant craving for more that will eventually lead to ruin and spiritual, if not physical, death. The key then is for us to focus on the “but” phrase and ensure that we “give without sparing.”
What do we give? The last line of the Christmas hymn, “In the Bleak Midwinter” suggests a simple answer: “But what I can I give him? Give him my heart.” Hold nothing back, give God your heart and unreservedly share your gifts with others.
Enjoy without complaint Philippians 2:14-15
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” (NIV)
There are usually two sides to every situation and seeing the negative side can become a lifestyle. That said, always “looking on the bright-side” can be a bit like Polly-Anna. Regardless of the situation, it’s much better to look at it realistically and simply get on with doing what needs to be done. Grumbling and arguing simply saps your energy and takes away from the joy of accomplishment.
It’s all about attitude. Do we want to show the world that Christians argue and complain about every little challenge; or do we want to let our light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven? Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
The first verse of the Magic Penny song goes like this. “It's [Love] just like a magic penny; hold it tight and you won't have any. Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many they'll roll all over the floor.”
In these days, people need each other more than eve, and, more importantly, they need Jesus more than ever. Take your gifts, your “Magic Pennies” and, with a joyful song in your heart, share them, give them away and enjoy seeing what God will do, through you.