Giving, Not Getting. Mark 4:21-25

21-22Jesus went on: “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open.


23“Are you listening to this? Really listening?

 24-25“Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.” (The Message)

You can look at the all of the Ten Commandments as being in some way telling us not to steal.  Whether it is stealing the honour that rightfully belongs to God, or stealing property, or another man’s wife, or stealing the truth ….

Looked at this way, the Ten Commandments remind us that our worst instincts are to make ourselves and our needs the centre of our world; to grab things for ourself; to take rather than give.

I have been thinking a lot about the importance of silence and listening – the silent listening of my Quaker experience at the weekend,

the importance being still and quiet in the face of angry words,

the value of listening to another’s story, especially where it is different to my own.

When I fail to listen to another, but am only concerned to speak, I steal from the other their time to speak, and I steal from myself the opportunity to learn from the other.

May I give time to careful listening, which in itself is a form of generosity.  

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