14th July 2021
Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you
Matt 5:42 (NIV)
This is a time when this verse is particularly pertinent. The COVID-19 pandemic has shoved a lot of people in the unfamiliar territory of being “Askers”, and possibly some are in the unfamiliar territory of being “Givers”. A friend of mine recognized this and created an online moderated platform called WayMakers in Malaysia. Askers can log requests and Givers can anonymously offer to fulfil those requests, for example covering a grocery bill, providing used books for kids to do their online study.
This verse, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount, emphasizes the role of the Giver. It describes what we should do (“give to the one who asks”) and how we should react (“do not turn away”- this could be interpreted as giving an unwelcoming face) to those who approach us. Read in isolation like this, it raises many questions though. Do I give to _anyone_ who asks me? Do I lend to someone who has a history of non-repayment? In this time where it may seem that there are more Askers than Givers when do I get to say I am strained, sorry but I can’t give?
In this whole section of the bible, Jesus is teaching about how people who have received the grace of God should behave. Children of God should be loving and live in service of one another. So I suppose the answer to all the questions above would probably be inform of other questions; When you give, will you be serving them? Will fulfilling their requests be in their best interests? Are you giving according to your honest ability?
Obviously though, this verse should not be read in isolation. The best answers that shed light on any questions about how we should give as Christians can be found in God’s Word; Deuteronomy 15:10, Deuteronomy 16:17, Proverbs 21:26, Proverbs 22:9, Matthew 6:3-4, Mark 12:41-44
Heavenly Father, grant me the wisdom and the heart to be able to give in a way that pleases you. Amen.