By Allen White
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:42
This is one of those verse that many of us respond to with “Okay, but….” “Okay, but what if they spend the money on drugs?” “Okay, but what if they drive a nicer car than I do?” “Okay, but what if this is only encouraging bad behavior?” Very rarely might we respond with “Okie, dokie.”
But, look at the counter statement here. In the previous verses, Jesus instructed us to be generous with those who sued us or forced us, now He’s simply asking us to be generous with people who just ask. They haven’t insulted us or maligned us or backhanded us. They simply have a need and ask us.
But, they’re asking for something that they don’t deserve. They want something that they didn’t earn, but we did earn. It represents our blood, sweat and tears. It’s a part of us. It’s a little hard to let go of.
Part of the problem is that we question the motives of the person asking. The second problem is that we might not have it to give. The last problem is that when money gets a hold of us, it’s hard to let it go.
Generosity is the antidote to materialism. We live in a culture of stuff. We live in a society where advertising keeps us perpetually discontent. Yet, the reality is considering the amount of stuff in our garages, attics and rental storage units, if stuff could satisfy us, then we would be more than satisfied.
There is beauty in simplicity. There is freedom in giving. Materialism burdens us with the things of this world. Generosity makes us more like God.
Okay, but let’s be honest—what if we really don’t have it to give? What if at the end of every month we find that not only do the ends not meet, but there is a widening gap? My pastor back home used to say, “If your out-go exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.” To give, we must have margin in our budgets.
Many of us are generous with corporations. We pay generous amounts of interest to mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and finance companies. How much money goes to interest every month? Most might be surprised to see hundreds to thousands of dollars devoted just to interest payments. What if we had that money to expand God’s Kingdom? What if we had that money to be generous to others?
Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is a great way to learn how to get out of debt and stay out of debt. If you’re serious about tackling this burden in your life, I would encourage you to find a FPU class ASAP.
If you’re uncertain about how to help a person in need, then contact the church. If you’re not sure how helpful your help would be, there are folks who can give wise counsel in what to do. If you would like to help someone, but you’re not sure how, there are many needs, especially among single moms, where you could make a significant difference – and it’s not all monetary.
Who needs your help? How can you help?