In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)
Have you heard the joke about the Scotsman and his porridge drawer? Long ago, before there were any fridges, Scottish people made their porridge and kept it in a sideboard drawer. Each morning they would open the drawer and cut out a big slice to be eaten that morning. You can probably imagine, as the week progressed, the freshness of the porridge began to wane and it became less appealing, if not downright rotten. The joke goes something like this: on the last day of the week the Scotsman poured himself a wee dram and told himself if he ate the porridge he would get the whisky as a reward. He valiantly managed to force porridge down but then, instead of drinking the whisky, he poured it back into the bottle and said, ‘Yer sae easily fooled!’
There are two things I don’t like about this joke. The first being I can’t ever imagine having to eat smelly, rotting porridge (and I am a person who hates to waste food). But the second thing makes me feel a bit sad. The Scotsman was so tight he couldn’t even give himself a little pleasure by drinking the whisky. As a nation we Scots are renowned for being tight – or frugal as we prefer to say.
One of the things I love about Jesus is his exuberant generosity, so when I was reading Philippians chapter 2 in which Paul encourages believers to embrace the mind of Christ, I wondered what it would be like to live as he did and to become as generous as him.
Jesus provides a pattern for us to follow in the way we think about ourselves and others, and then he demonstrates how that affects the way we live our lives. Even though Jesus ‘existed in the form of God’ meaning he was equal with God, and had everything, he ‘emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, assuming human likeness’ (vv. 6-8 NRSVUE). He gave everything up, and yet he continued to be abundantly generous. The human tendency is to hold on even more tightly to what we have when we are faced with giving things up. Could this be based on fear and a lack of trust in God?
As a human, Jesus completely trusted in God to give him the things he needed. We too can trust God. We are told, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38 NIV).
Don’t give because you want to get things back. Give so you can have the same mindset as Jesus. Let’s be generous with ourselves and each other, following his example.
Our loving Father, you are a God who loves to give us good things and we can never out-give you. Please help us to be like Jesus, our older brother, and live a life of overflowing generosity. In his name we pray, Amen.
Study by Jackie Mill
About the writer:
Jackie Mill is a minister in Grace Communion International and Co-Regional Pastor for Scotland and Ireland.
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