Before the people of Israel entered into the Promised Land, God gave them a special instruction as to how they were to express their gratitude: they were to share. Out of thankfulness toward Him they were to give the poor and the stranger something of theirs. God gave them the commandment: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest, and you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger.”
This notion of sharing can also be found in the gospel. The Apostles picked up on it and spread it further. Because we have ourselves received gifts from God, we share with the poor and the stranger.
Sharing is a firm component of Christian faith and it fits very well into our time. With it we Christians offer a counterweight to the ever-present motto of maximizing profit: in all things one must extract as much as humanly possible—as much money, as much time, as much advantage, as much utility, as much esteem, and as much prestige as possible. Everyone wants the maximum for himself. That applies to the individual, it applies to society, to the economy, to the country, and so on. And in the process, one often forgets one’s neighbour, the poor, and the stranger.
We are aware that everything we have comes from God. And God expects us not only to give Him His portion, but rather also that we have something to spare for our neighbour, for those who are in need. Because we have received so much from Him, the dear God tells us, “I want you to also share that which I give you with others. Share your time, share your strength, share your money, share your gifts. Take a moment to care for the poor, your neighbour, those who are in need.”
That is the Christian faith put into practice.