Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace . . . 1 Peter 4:9-10
As an adult, I’ve found that I’ll frequently revert to my childish ways when I’m able. When I was a child, I wanted to eat peanut butter right out of the jar with a spoon, while shoveling handfuls of chocolate chips in my mouth. My mother would have never allowed that though. I’m an adult now however, and she’s not here to stop me. So I indulge because I can get away with it. When I was a kid, I couldn’t leave the fridge or the house door wide open because my parents would (and did) call me back from my friend’s house to close it. Now though, as an adult, I pay the electricity and heating bills. If I want to leave the door open, I THINK I WILL, until my wife intervenes. Like I said – childlike.
I do this with my stuff. When I was a kid, I was taught that I had to share. If I got something good, it wasn’t meant to be kept for myself. I was to share it. This was a good lesson because selfishness is bad, and sharing is a healthy, mature behavior. As an adult now though, I’ve found that there’s no one telling me I must share and so I can get away with keeping all my stuff for myself. I work hard. I’ve earned my stuff. It’s mine. My toys are for me and my family. I. Me. Mine . . . Selfish.
Peter objected to my selfishness in today’s passage. In it, he taught that all my stuff isn’t something I’ve earned so that I may keep it for myself. Rather, he said that everything good in my life is a result of God’s grace, given to me so that I may use it for his purposes. Being a good steward of what he’s given me means sharing it with others – without complaining. If I have a comfortable home, I must invite others into it, showing my neighbors the love and grace that God has shown me. If I have a dock and a boat, I must generously share those things with the people God has put in my life.
Sigh . . . I don’t want to share my boat. It’s mine. I earned it. It’s for me and my family.
This is the childish mindset to which Peter objected. That’s not My Stuff. It’s stuff God has allowed me to have so that I may use it for his will, showing others the love that he’s shown me. Following God’s will means daily growing up – and sharing.