Every day I have a choice: I can live with my hands closed tightly around what I think I can protect from others or I can live with my hands open both to give and to receive.
Losing a child makes it tempting to cling that much tighter to what and who I have in my life.
But losing a child also makes it plain that no matter how tightly I hold onto the people and possessions I think are mine, in the end, I’m just not strong enough to do it.
I don’t have power over sin and death. I can’t anticipate or control the thousands of potential dangers that lurk around corners and spring from shadows.
Every thing and every person that I treasure is a gift from God. They were given me to steward, not to own.
There is an interesting conundrum associated with success documented in many studies: those who have more tend to give less. The actual dollar amount may be larger, but as a percentage of income or wealth, it is much smaller.
It seems that those who accumulate wealth and experience privilege begin to consider themselves more deserving than those who live in poverty.
I think there is a corollary in the church: we who are members of the Body of Christ and walk in the joy of forgiveness can drift from remembering that we, too, were once far from God, walking in darkness and without hope.
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
Ephesians 2:1-6 MSG
God is a generous and loving God. He makes his rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous :
You have heard that it used to be said, ‘You shall love your neighbour’, and ‘hate your enemy’, but I tell you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Heavenly Father. For he makes the sun rise upon evil men as well as good, and he sends his rain upon honest and dishonest men alike.
~Matthew 5:44-47 MSG
He longs for all to come to a saving knowledge of Christ:
The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. ~2 Peter 3:9 HCSB
And He has called us as His ambassadors of reconciliation to proclaim His goodness, love and generosity throughout the world:
All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also.
2 Corinthians 5:18 GNT
When we walk with closed hands, when we act as if we are “us” and the rest of the world is “them” we build walls instead of bridges.
And we push people away instead of drawing them in.
Have we forgotten that but for the grace of a loving and generous God, we too would be lost?
What are you so puffed up about? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?
I Corinthians 4:7 TLB