Sharing is Not Natural, But Effective
It's Hard to Have Friends Without It!
by Eric Elkin
Sharing may be a sign of caring, but it is not necessarily a natural reaction to possessions. Watch a group of toddlers play together with some toys. One will grab a toy and start to play with it. Almost immediately, that first toy selected becomes the only toy of significance for every other child in the group. Each will grab for it and try to take it. The child who first possessed the toy will pull back and say, “Mine.”
If an adult does not intervene, the toddlers will hit each other and crying will ensue. There are several strategies to prevent this from happening. A parent can work as a mediator and gently show the children how they might share one toy. Or, the adult could redirect attention by introducing a new toy to play with for the children without one. Regardless of the specific strategy, most effective resolutions involve sharing. At least the ones which produce peace.
Sharing, though, is not a natural reaction. However, everyone knows, it is hard to have friends without it. Healthy adult relationships depend upon some level of sharing. Unfortunately, we often have to fight our inner desire for possessiveness to find harmony with others. It is a constant battle which threatens marriages, friendships, workplaces, congregations, and neighborhoods.
I just watched the Netflix documentary, Wild, Wild Country. It tells the story of how the followers of spiritual guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, moved from India to a remote location in Oregon. They desired to build a commune of openness, equality, and mutuality. To some it was a cult, to others it was nirvana. What held the community together was a shared vision of inspiration from a leader. Ultimately, it was destroyed by an inability to share. Possessiveness from both within the community and outside it led many to justify destructive behavior.
The reading today reflects a dream reality of an early community of believers. Inspired by the events following the resurrection, they live as one people with one mind, spirit, and understanding. This feeling will not last long. Conflict and selfishness will enter this community like it does every community. Someone will say, “This is mine!” When this happens in your community, remember, just like children, sharing leads to the most effective and peaceful resolutions.
Click to read: Acts 4: 32-35
- When have you struggled to share with others?
- When has someone struggled to share with you?
- How can communities work together for the common good?
- Where do you bear witness to the resurrection in your daily life?