I had a pickup truck when I was younger. I used it to haul my stuff to college, help others move their large bulky items, and I and loved driving it around. But after about a year and a half, I totaled it when I lost control on some black ice. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to get another one…but we were not in a financial position to make that happen.
After we purchased our first house, there were times we just needed a truck – whether it was to get rid of stuff, to bring home a large item purchase, needing to haul away annual yard waste, loading up firewood every fall, or whatever. We did the best we could with what we had – clearing out the seats in the back of my wife’s minivan or sometimes renting a U-Haul. Eventually, however, a good friend offered me the use of his truck whenever we needed it.
I gladly took him up on his offer. So several times a year, over the course of nearly 10 years, we would car-swap for a day and I would be able to take care of the task at hand. My friend was generous like this whenever I would ask, simply willing to share what he had and help us out.
Of course, I would heap thanks upon him and return the truck with a full gas tank…but I would always look forward to the day when I would (hopefully) have a truck of my own. My friend was a perfect example of what the author of Hebrews encouraged his readers to do:
Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.
As the recipient of my friend’s constant generosity, I understood the first half of the verse quite well. I reaped the benefit of his willingness to do good to others and to share the resources he had.
However, I had no understanding of the second half of the verse.
As far as I knew, he was only sacrificing his time when he didn’t have the truck readily available. But my perspective changed recently – when we were finally able to purchase our own truck.
While we were in the process of evaluating vehicles and shopping around for the best deal, I told many friends that I would be more than willing to help others out. I wanted to follow my friend’s example. I wanted to share what God has given us and do what is good to those around me.
Shortly after we made the purchase, another friend asked if he could borrow the truck to pick up a couch someone was giving him. I told him, “Sure, I will gladly come with you and help you haul the couch.” However, he said that between him and his wife, they didn’t need the extra set of hands. They just needed a way to transport the item. It was in that split second I understood what the word sacrifice meant in this case – I was being asked to give up something I loved, to put total control in the hands of another. Temporarily give up, sure…but I had no guarantee of what would happen, and I would not be there to prevent anything bad from happening…
I did my best to keep a straight face and not betray the flash of conflict I was experiencing while my friend and I made arrangements for when he could come get the truck. I’ll even admit to being slightly panged when they drove away, but God had already begun to teach me the value of loosely holding on to the things He gives me and that He is pleased when we act like Him.
When we keep all the things we have close to us or hoard the money God has entrusted to us, our entire worldview becomes very self-centered. And, of course, when we are constantly looking at ourselves, we’re not looking toward God.
What, then, is the best remedy for our selfishness?
Don’t neglect to do good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.