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HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 22 (Mt. 5:42) “Give & Lend”

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
Matthew 5:42 (NIV)

DRINK IT IN:
I’m going to write three True or False statements and after you read each one, please answer it according to your opinion.

1. T or F — Our possessions should mean absolutely nothing to us.
2. T or F — I should obey God when I don’t understand why.
3. T or F — Jesus wants me to be and behave just like Him.

I hope you answered the questions above. I did, and I want to share my answers. I answered the first one, False. Our possessions are gifts to us from God and we are to steward them with great responsibility and therefore they have meaning and importance to us. However, I suppose one could answer this with a “True” as well, and I think I would understand where you are coming from, especially spiritually. If you answered number one with True, then I’m sure you and I could have a great discussion about why we answered this question differently. (There is a Hydrate Devotion coming in the near future, about material goods and giving, and I’ll discuss this issue more then.) Back to the questions. I answered number 2 and 3 the same. Both, to me, are true.

This command found in Matthew 5:42, in my opinion, is about Jesus trying to develop us to be more and more like Him. I heard a good friend of mine, named Eric, preach a message about the 10 commandments. Eric said that he believed the 10 commandments were given to the Israelites to help them relearn what it means to be human again. He went into detail, in his message, about how the Israelites, after spending more than 400 years in Egypt as slaves, had forgotten how to be human. He talked about how after 400 years of being forced to do what they were told by Pharaoh, that they had been sort of brainwashed into never having to think for themselves as slaves. They had been trained to behave like machines and Pharaoh was the one pushing their buttons.

So when God, broke them out of Egypt, using Moses to lead the way, He had to give the 10 commandments to help all these “machines” relearn some basic human-like principles, so they would know how to behave, now that Pharaoh was no longer there to tell them. I mean, think with me here. Did you ever think why God needed to write down things like, “obey your parents, do not murder, do not lie, do not steal, take a break every seventh day, etc?” The Israelites had forgotten how to be human. They needed God to give then some direct commands, that they could keep close to their hearts and minds, so that they would be reminded to act like the people He created them to be. Human.

So, what is it about us/people, that Jesus is still giving us commands, like he was thousands of years ago to the Israelites? I’m wondering about how easy it is for us to forget what it means to be human. Let me ask it this way. Why did Jesus command us to “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”? I mean, how much of a “duh” command is that? I want to sarcastically ask Jesus, “What are we, two year olds?” And then when I think about my sarcastic question, if Jesus were in my presence when I asked it, I wouldn’t be able to look Him in the eye, because I would know what the answer is to my sarcasm. Yes, too many times I behave like a 2 year old does and yes, I need to have commands from my Lord to remind me how to behave.

So, I have answered my question, as to why Jesus needs to give us these simple commands. Its so we can be reminded to behave like Jesus created us to behave. To be human. Without commands like these, all too often we fall into the trap of gripping everything in our lives with white-knuckled grips while screaming, “MINE!” If we never had a command like this one that I am writing about today, then we would all naturally keep falling away from being human, which would cause us to behave more and more like animals. People acting like animals does not lead to better societies.

The command that Jesus gives here is very straight forward. There isn’t anything about it that is open for discussion. It is crystal clear. So, when a guy who smells of alcohol and is wearing torn clothes approaches you at your local corner gas station, while you are pumping gas, and asks if you would give him a dollar, what do you do? According to Jesus, what are we supposed to do? Does Jesus tell us, in this command of His, to think about whether or not the man is going to buy more alcohol with it? Does Jesus command us to be careful about giving that dollar because if we give it, we actually will be hurting him and training him to live off a welfare system? Does Jesus command us to question the man as to whether or not he’s going to buy drugs with it? No, Jesus said, “give to the one who asks you.”

Are you thinking to yourself the following thoughts?
“But, Trent…what if my helping the man actually hurts him in the long run, because it doesn’t teach him to work and help himself? But Trent…if I just give him money, I’m not teaching him to be responsible? But Trent…he’s just going to use the money I give him to buy….”

I answer those thoughts with this question. What did Jesus command you? “Give to the one who asks of you.” Immediately…our machine kicks in…our non-human machine of a brain kicks in and starts with the…”but…”

In a previous post I said, “Don’t be a but!” Yes…I spelled that right. Don’t be a but.

Its God’s job to control. Its God’s responsibility to deal with the guy who buys drugs with the money. By the way, that amount of money we give when the guy asks for it, whatever the amount…its not our amount. Its not ours, period! That’s God’s money.

What does Jesus command?
“Give to the one who asks.”
Again…
What does Jesus command?
“Give to the one who asks.”
One more time…
What does Jesus command?
“Give to the one who asks.”

Do you have the authority to change anything about that command? Me either.

Is it possible that Jesus is more concerned about what’s going on inside your heart, when you choose not to give the dollar, than He is about what happens if you give the dollar, and the guy spends it on something he shouldn’t?

SWEAT IT OUT:
Give to the one who asks.
The principle is the same when it comes to the second part of the command.
“Do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

If you have the ability to lend, then why wouldn’t you. If you can lend it, then you can give it. So when you lend, its good to use wisdom and common sense about how it will be paid back. The Bible talks about lending it without interest. We’ll talk about that in another Hydrate post later. For now, if you can lend it, you can give it.

So, lend it. Make a plan for it to be paid back, but if it doesn’t get paid back, are you going to let it ruin your short life? I hope not. If you can lend it, you can give it. Its not our money. Its God’s money.

Give to the one who asks.
Let God sort it out from there.

Giving and Lending is about the condition of your own heart. God is concerned about your heart’s condition. He is also concerned about the heart of the one whom you give the money to. Its His job to change that person and direct that person. Not yours.

God wants you to be human. Humanity is warm. Machines are cold. Humanity is alive. Machines look alive, but they really aren’t. God made you to be like Him. Alive, breathing, giving, loving, growing, stretching, inspiring, vicarious…human…just like He created us to be.

Did God give? Did Jesus give? Yes! When God and Jesus gave…did they control what we did with the gift? No! We are created to be like them.

All the commands that Jesus commands of us are really not complicated or overwhelming. They are simply human. If you are struggling with any of these commands, then what you are really struggling with, is control and robotic or animalistic behavior. You are not an animal or a robot. You are created in the image of God to be like Him. You are created in the image of God to be like Him. You are created in the image of God to be like Him.

You are going to encounter people today who are going to ask from you. Are prepared for it?

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Jesus said it.


3 Comments

  • Reply kay clark |

    Really interesting, TR.

    I must admit that I have tried to take that one on sometimes,,, trying to decide if that person “who asks” will use it wisely.

    Great insight~!

  • Reply Chuck Adair |

    Wow, that one hit me right between the eyes. I avoided a person who was going to ask me for money just yesterday. This totally makes me rethink of how I will act the next time. “Give to the one who asks you”. Amen. Thanks Trent

So, what do you think ?