The Rich Young Man
Some years ago there was a Cracker Jacks commercial. In it, a grandfather is enjoying a box of the popcorn snack. He hears his grandson enter the house and hurriedly hides the box. He asks his grandson, “What did you learn in school today?” The grandson responds with an expectant look on his face, “sharing”. Grandpa who is not quite ready to share his snack then asks, ”Did you play any games at school today?” The grandson repeats “sharing”. Grandpa reluctantly shares the box with his grandson who then pours some into his own hand and turns to leave until Grandpa asks “sharing?” and extends his hand. Grandson happily shares.
When I was a child, this was just one example of what it looks like to consider the needs of others and our response to them. No matter where we lived, our home was a haven of rest or refuge for those with varying degrees of need. It could have been giving food to Miss Florene to assist her in feeding her family, or serving as a temporary home for Miss Alice’s children when their parents were engaged in domestic abuse situations, or caring for newborn twins experiencing narcotics withdrawal due to a mom who struggled with addiction. It could have been providing our living room as a guest room for someone in need. Or it could have been ensuring there was always a place at our table for the unexpected guest. How often do we look at another and love them?
The love of God comes to us in various and sundry ways. When we look at our neighbors, family and friends through eyes of compassion and love and act with a spirit of gratitude and generosity, we recognize with God all things are possible. When we acknowledge the personhood of the other, particularly those whom society would deem the least or the last person one would offer a place at one’s table, then that person becomes the first to receive an invitation. We experience God’s love most fully when we are able to give of ourselves for the good of others. |
The Rev. Debra Bennett is rector of Our Saviour, Akron, Ohio and serves on the TENS Board of Directors.