Are we to take the following verse literally? What does it mean? Are we really to give to whomever asks of us?
“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” Matthew 5:40-42
Last Christmas season I attended a concert benefiting my favorite charity. In the parking lot was a man asking for money. He stated that he just wanted to get home to his family. Most of the attendees to this “Christian” event walked right past him as if he was not even there. The man made his way inside where he asked the church pastor to let him work at something just to earn enough money to make it home. I watched as the pastor calmly and quietly told the man there was nothing there for him to do, and that no one could help him, and to please leave.
My heart was breaking. Perhaps this man was a known begger. Perhaps he came around often and tried to take advantage of church folks who would give him money. Perhaps all this was true, but no where in the Bible do I read where Jesus tells me not to give to those who make pests of themselves or who are out for personal gain. In the verses above we read “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
I ran into the parking lot and gave the man a few dollars. The reason for my actions was not because I am such a benevolent person, but because of a promise I made last summer.
As I was leaving a convenience store I passed a man with one leg holding out his hat, I remember thinking, “Just because he has only one leg, doesn’t mean he is someone actually in need. After all I don’t even know him”
Before even a few blocks from the store I heard that still small voice speaking to me. He was telling me I should have given to the man. It was my Lord convicting me to the point where I had to go back. On my way back to the store I found myself trying to justify my actions by saying, “but Lord, but Lord……” Do you think Jesus listened to my excuses? Absolutely not.
When I arrived back at the store the man was gone, I asked the store keeper about him, but he said they probably ran him off. He was gone and I could do nothing for him, so I prayed for forgiveness, said a prayer for the man and promised God I would always try my best to give to those who asked of me.
After the concert during the Christmas Season, I remember thinking, “ does anyone take the Bible literally when Jesus says we are to give to those who ask?” Are we supposed to take the Bible literally? I know some scripture is symbolic, but is all of it?
Well I could go on and on, and truly there must be a book that covers every commandment we are to keep and how to keep it, ……oh yea, it is called the Bible. I know it is impossible to keep every commandment to the letter, but does that relieve us of the responsibility to do our best? I don’t think so. Did you know Jesus came to die on the cross for that very reason?
Yes we are forgiven for not keeping the law, but keeping it the best we can is an act of love we owe to the one who gave us eternal life. Hey, isn’t that what He says
“If you love me….” John 14:15 (KJV)
Have you ever thought that giving a handout to a beggar is the same as helping our Lord Jesus Christ?
“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” Matthew 25:45 (KJV)
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