Lending Or Giving?
According to the Lord Jesus, especially in the context of the scripture below, lending is as good as giving and forgetting about it. The word ‘lending’ implies that we expect to get back what we lent. Jesus, however, exhorts us to lend without expecting anything back.
“And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”—Luke 6:34-35.
The above scripture is one of the least practised. Though it is not a parable requiring interpretation, many people struggle to understand what the Lord was saying. There is no need asking if He meant what He was saying. Unless it was a parable whose meaning depended on interpretation, Jesus always says what He means and means what He says. When we ask what He means, it is not because we don’t understand what He says, rather, it is because what He says is too difficult to practice. We better take Him at His word.
We read in Psalm 112:5 “A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.”
It is usually the person asking for help that announces that he is only borrowing. To test his faithfulness, even if we know he will not pay back, we may not tell him that we don’t expect him to pay back. The good thing is that majority of those who borrow but never pay back don’t usually come back to ‘borrow’ more. Instead of coming back to ‘bother’ you, they will be doing their best to avoid you.
If the Lord Jesus exhorted us to lend to those who ask us, it means that there are things that the reason for having them is that God intended that we lend them out. If we don’t do that, we would be bad stewards. This may be a sin not unto death (1 John 5:16) but is a sin all the same.
Before I end this chapter, may I sound a warning to the borrower. It is not for the borrower to tell the lender to write off the debt because he (the lender) was meant to lend and not expect back. That posture would constitute extortion, manipulation and covetousness. If one will not pay back what he borrowed, too bad. Such a person must know that the devil has borrowed him and he (devil) is not keen to give him back to God.
Reflections and Questions to Ponder
1) What important lesson have you learnt from this chapter?
2) Does a stranger/widow/fatherless/poor benefit from your business? What are the ‘gleaning’ possibilities you allow the disadvantaged to benefit from?
3) If you know that somebody will not pay you back, will you still ‘lend’ him?
4) Should people know that you can lend and not expect it back, they will definitely take advantage to defraud you. Knowing this, how can you get the balance so that you don’t get overwhelmed by fraudsters?
5) Someone may say: ‘I don’t want problems with people, so I don’t lend anybody anything.’ Is this a right strategy? Outside what is shared in this chapter, what are the scriptures you would invoke for a yes or a no?
6) Have you ever lent to someone who would not pay you back? How do you relate with the person? How is the condition of your heart towards the person?
7) What difference would it make if you knew that the reason you had what you had was to ‘lend’ it away to someone who would not repay it?