Jesus said that “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). The next teaching in Jesus’s first sermon is difficult for many people, including myself. I am challenged to evaluate whether I value people as Jesus values them and do I value my possession more than people in need.
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. –Matthew 5:42
The New American Standard Version and New International Version says, “Give to him [the one] who asks of you, and do not turn away from him [the one] who wants to borrow from you.” New King James says, “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”
In the cities, you often face many panhandlers who beg for money, and we think it is to buy drugs and alcohol but ask them what necessities they need and provide them. God sees all things, and He knows all things. Those who are very rich may have a problem with this teaching. This instruction is especially hard for prideful people who look down on people who are in need as if it is their fault, which it may be. Regardless of why someone needs to ask for help, it is loving your neighbor to help them with their needs. Remember that when you do anything for someone in need, you are doing it unto Jesus (Matthew 25:35-45). And, what you sow, you will reap. In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Everything that we have is from God, and He is our provider. So giving to someone who asks or wants to borrow is a test of our faith in God’s provision for us.
Is there a limit on how much you can give?
I feel like I should have limits on how much I give, or someone could beg for or borrow all that I have, which would leave me with nothing, then I would have to beg and borrow. Do I trust God to provide? And if you give to one organization, soon you are on a mailing list and get many other organizations asking for money. Is it wise to give to every organization that asks for funds on the radio and TV? Since Jesus dealt with individuals, this verse is about actual people who are in need. For example, my teenage son went on a mission trip, so he asked people to support him. This is a worthy endeavor and people were happy to help him. Unfortunately, there are many scammers that go from church to church asking for money and saying they are in need. God knows, so ask Him what you should do. If He says to give, then it may be a test of your faith.
I am reminded of the story Jesus told in Luke 11:5-8 about the man whose friend came at midnight, and he didn’t have food to give his friend. He knocks on his neighbor’s door to ask for food. The neighbor would not get up, but he kept knocking until the neighbor got up to give him what he asked. You may be the one that God uses to provide for someone who is in need and who prayed for God to help them.
Do you value others and what Jesus values more than yourself?
Is the kingdom of God more important than your wealth? Do you trust God to provide for you when you help others in need? Jesus also instructed people in Luke 12:32-34 the following, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where is your treasure? Is it here on Earth or in Heaven? This scripture passage is a test of our faith and trust. Prayerfully reflect on where your heart is focused. Jesus’ teachings focus on the condition of our hearts. Remember, 1John 2:17 states, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
Why is it wise to give to the one who begs and not refuse the one who wants to borrow from you? It is the will of God. Doing God’s will reveals the condition of your heart. It is foolish to hold on to your possessions and not care for those in need because then you will not receive the kingdom of God (Luke 12:32). I did not know where God was going to lead me with this post. I am blessed and challenged by what God has revealed. I hope you are challenged to do God’s will and be wise. Storing up our treasure in heaven and receiving the kingdom of God is far more desirable than having possessions, would you not agree?
God bless you.
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