My husband always shares his oranges with me. It’s amazing.
Once or twice a year – if we’re lucky – we can get our hands on juicy, fragrant fruit, shipped from the USA.
I buy just a few oranges at a time because I’m shopping on a budget and good, in season oranges cost more than a dollar each. My grandmother lived in California and her backyard was littered with this fruit – we saw people selling bags of it for cheap at the side of the road. Here, a good orange is like gold and when I’ve got one in my grip, my instinct is to eat the whole orange myself. That’s why it amazes me every time my husband hands over segments of his snack, showing his love for me by sharing.
Greed grips me. I find it hard to share. I’m a penny pincher. I want to save and stockpile and comfort myself with the security of buffer in the bank. Giving depletes this hoard, so I struggle to give generously and willingly.
I’m reading a devotional called Comparison Girl and this morning a passage convicted me:
Remember, [wisdom from below] takes your hand and says, “You should do what’s good for you.” Jesus wants us to have the wisdom from above, which says, “You should do what’s good – not just for you, but also for others.”
This is always challenging. Me first comes naturally to most of us.
What would it cost us to take in a Ukrainian family? To foster or adopt a child? To share with an organization that can’t issue tax receipts?
A pregnancy centre in my city put out a call, this month, because their charitable status may be threatened, and they are aware that if they can no longer issue tax receipts to donors, people will stop giving. This struck me as very wrong. Giving to get. I like a nice tax refund as much as anyone, and I can’t deny being swayed by this myself, but there is no part of me that will claim that this kind of conditional giving is “doing what’s good – not just for you, but also for others.”
Years ago I processed donations for a Christian charity. For hours, every day, I opened envelopes and processed cheques. This job was boring, but once or twice something happened that I’ve never forgotten. I’d pull out a letter written in shaky handwriting by an elderly widow living on limited means who had asked for money from her children and grandchildren for her birthday, so that she would have a little extra to share.
I bowed my head, in those moments, ashamed. That kind of love and generosity always moved me.
Once I heard a sermon series that challenged listeners to ask this question in uncertain moments: What does love require of me? Most times, figuring this out isn’t hard. We know what love requires of us.
Self care is essential – if we neglect our own needs, we’ll be of no use to anyone. But so often I cater to myself in how I choose to spend my time, my money and how I handle my oranges, when, in fact, I know what love requires of me.
I challenge you (and me) this week to do what’s good – not just for you, but also for others.
Share your oranges.