'is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? and must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? ... I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep ... you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns ...'
i felt really ashamed when i read this. that's what we're like in the west, isn't it - it's not enough that we are prosperous and blessed ourselves - we also prevent others from enjoying the resources we've been given, we hold back and shut others out. it's like we think the blessings are our own (as if sheep can own fields and rivers) and once we've taken our fill, we'd rather muddy the water and trample the grass than let others come and be filled.
but they're not ours to own or hoard. they're ours for eating and drinking. for everyone's eating and drinking.
and then God (he's gentle, isn't he?) opened my eyes more, and helped me to see that it's not just my society that does this, and it doesn't just happen on a global scale.
i do this, on a personal scale.
all the blessings he gives me are for me to enjoy. rivers to drink, more than enough to eat, pastures to run and grow and live in, and safety at the hands of the very Best Shepherd. but sometimes i worry that there won't be enough. especially when the Shepherd brings more sheep and says "share!"
but i might not have enough if i share, i think fearfully, these provisions might run out.
i can hear the Shepherd laughing.
he does not operate on a capitalist system, and value is not driven by scarcity. no, his is the law of abundance, gorgeously worded in luke 6:38 - 'give, and it will be given to you. good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.'
God's rivers flow wider when more mouths come to drink, and the food springs up to fill the mouths opened for it. instead of heaving others away with my well-filled belly, i need to enjoy what he gives me and rejoice that there is always more than enough to share.
more than enough in God's beautiful jumbled upside down economics.
give, and it will be given to you. good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.