God, help me to share. Help me to share what I have. Help me to share you. Help me to share love. Thank you for sharing yourself with me. Amen.

"Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them (Luke 14: 41-42).

In two of the post resurrection narratives the disciples shared bread and fish with the risen Christ. This sharing was a response to a physical need Jesus had and it demonstrated their generosity. His disciples were willing to share what they had with someone who was in need.

Our God is a generous God who constantly shares his love with us. This we see in his willingness to send Jesus to be our Saviour. The resurrection speaks volumes of God’s love as we see him raising his Son to live in order that we might live. I think it is significant that on two occasions we see the disciples engaging in an act of sharing. Easter is a constant reminder of God’s generous love for the human race.

People who share in Christ’s resurrection must be willing to share their love and material resources with others. It is impossible for one who claims to be a Christian to reject the opportunities that allow one to share what one has.

Easter invites us to share our love with those who are in need. It asks us to reach out to persons who like Christ in today’s Gospel have a need to be met. It challenges us to respond positively to those who come to us for help in the same way that the disciples respond to Jesus’ question "Have you anything here to eat?"

Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to help people who are in need, especially, the poor. As we assist the poor and needy we share God’s love. God comes to us in the faces of the poor and needy. There is the understanding that those who refuse to help the poor and needy will be refused help in their time of need. This sentiment is expressed in Proverbs: “He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13).

Within the context of sharing Christians have a special obligation to care for fellow Christians who are in need. In this regard one sees the early Christians pooling their resources and making them available for the common good. Paul encourages the Corinthian Christians to make a special collection for their poor brothers and sister. We must note Paul’s teaching and advice: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Our concern for the poor and needy must go beyond pity; it has to be demonstrated in action, pity without action is useless. St. James leaves us in no doubt: “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16)?

Concern for the poor and those in need has to be translated into action. People who have the means to help the poor and needy are under obligation to so do. We cannot claim to love God and refuse to help people who cry to us for help. The writer of the First Letter of John makes a very interesting observation: “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16-8).

God gives us wealth and material blessings so that we can be generous. We must not be ashamed if we are wealthy, provided it was acquired honestly. However, we must always remember that our wealth and material possession are not ours; they are God’s to be used to bless others. We must not hold on selfishly to what we have, we must be liberal and be a blessing to others. One notes two passages that speak to this understanding of wealth and possessions: “You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11) and “As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to share and are unwilling to give generously of their money, time and talents to the church, charitable orgainsations, worthy causes and those who have special needs. It is human greed and selfishness that prevent us from giving generously and honestly to the church, charity and those in need. Our unwillingness to share our resources lead us to make excuses and find all reasons why we should not give; I have bills to pay, I am not working, I am a pensioner, I have to buy food, the cost of living is high and the like. We find reasons why we should not give because we see our blessings as gifts for self aggrandizement, because consciously or unconsciously we make gods out of them and worship them and we believe that if we share what we have we will lose it. Whenever we hoard what we have and refuse to share with the church, charitable organisations, worthy causes and the poor and needy, it demonstrates a lack of faith in God who promises to supply all our needs and reassures that we shall never lack anything. “I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.”

Generous giving to the church, charitable organisations, worthy causes and the poor and needy, frees us from love of self, liberates us from the worship of false gods and gives us an inward peace which promotes joyful living. God has blessed us in so many ways and we should be happy to share what we have however small it may be. God is good.

This morning we shall make a presentation to the Learning Centre to help it with its work. This gift of love represents the generosity of those members of the parish who saved their coins during the Lenten season as a sign of their love for God. It is symbolic of those members whose recognise that their money is a gift from God to be used for the common good and not for selfish use.

It is said there are three kinds of givers -- the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness. Which kind of giver are you?

“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). 

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