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When it comes to giving to others, why do we usually seem to start with reasons to not give?

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in discipleship, love, missional, service | 6 comments

When it comes to giving to others, why do we usually seem to start with reasons to not give?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve enjoyed following Chuck on his newish blog “Being Filled” (and, of course, I’ve enjoyed his interactive here and on Twitter). One of his latest posts is called “Give to Everyone Who Asks of You.”

Whenever I hear someone teach about this subject (or read someone who has written about this subject) they almost always begin with exceptions for giving or justifications for not giving. Interestingly, Chuck deals with many of these excuses in his own post.

For example, concerning the excuse “he doesn’t deserve it,” Chuck writes:

You’re right; he doesn’t deserve it. You don’t deserve it either. What you have is not the result of your own careful planning and managing. Everything you have is a gift of God. And God has just commanded you to pass some of that gift on to another undeserving person.

Chuck covers several other excuses as well.

But, I’m not concerned so much with the excuses and whether or not they are justified. But, when I read Chuck’s post, and went back and read Jesus’ command in context, I noticed something:

In every instance in Scripture where it is recorded that Jesus commanded “Give to everyone who asks of you,” he said that in the context of loving our enemies. Think about that… Jesus is talking about giving to people who oppose us… and giving them anything they ask from us. (There are other commands and examples of giving to people who are not our enemies, but this context was about giving to enemies.)

Again, I’m not interested in when, where, why, and how we may or may not be justified to not give, I’m simply pointing out that when Jesus commanded us to give, he was not talking about giving to people who agree with us or even to people who like us.

This is certainly a different kind of giving… If Jesus began in the context of enemies, why do we typically begin with reasons not to give?


6 Comments

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  1. 8-7-2012

    Thanks so much for the mention, Alan!

    Indeed, this command was given in the context of enemies. I don’t think Jesus meant it to apply only to enemies (nor do I think you are saying that), but it really does help us see just how serious this command is.

  2. 8-7-2012

    Maybe because in spite of the commands, we don’t really want to give or more properly share what we view as being “ours”?

  3. 8-7-2012

    @Alan,

    Hear, hear as to Chuck’s blog! It is one of the few I read that actually has something to say.

    @Arthur Sido,

    “Share” is not what Jesus said. He said to give. Giving means to give up authority over, and sharing means to have a say in how what it is you are sharing is used.

  4. 8-7-2012

    Donald sharing as described in Scripture as giving up claim on our possessions.

  5. 8-7-2012

    @Arthur,

    I am looking at Romans 8:17. It speaks of us sharing as heirs. This is where I am coming from when it comes to ‘sharing’. A purposed, focused alignment with another. To share is not the same as to give.

    Semantics? Perhaps. Like saying we ‘accept Christ’, when we are told to instead receive Him. Big difference for me.

    My friend, not seeking an argument. I am merely stating how I read The Scriptures. This is not a salvific issue. :)

  6. 8-8-2012

    Thanks again for the comments everyone. It’s been very busy at work and home, so I have not been able to comment like I’d prefer.

    -Alan