Give To Those Who Ask

Give To Those Who Ask May 1, 2014

Jesus says, “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42).

We immediately qualify. We soften and ease the command. “It’s an exhortation to develop an instinct for generosity. We may have good reasons not to give, but we should give whenever we can.” As I did recently. Then hated myself.

Jesus means what he says, and we should understand it in the light of the Father’s generosity to us. The Father never refuses His children: He gives them what they ask for, or something better. That something better may be a “No” to what we ask; but when the Father says “No” it’s because He knows that what we asked for would not be to our good.

Parents do the same with their children. We don’t give our children everything they ask for. When they ask for a new car, we tell them “No” because it is better for them to work, learn to save, delay their gratification. Those are better gifts than the gift of a new car.

And we do the same with everyone. We give what they ask, or we give them something they need more. Someone might want a handout; it might be better if we buy a meal or drive him to a shelter or help get her job training.

Every “No” should mean “You don’t need what you’re asking for as much as you need something else. Let me give you something better.” “No” should never be a refusal to give.

This complexifies. It’s easier to give the handout they ask for, and sometimes that’s what we give. But if we do that, we are not doing what our Father does.

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