In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). Continuing now with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of which is ‘freely give’.
Fearful of not having enough
How tempting it is to hold on to all we have. To hoard. To retain for ourselves for a rainy day. To turn a blind eye to someone in need. We have been trained to be masters of self-preservation. We are fearful of not having enough. We must be willing to freely give.
But Jesus has something to say on this subject. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. Matt 5:42 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. Luke 6:30
Instant reward of praise from men
Giving can make us feel good. Makes us feel benevolent. Can make us believe we’ve scored a point in heaven. Then the temptation is there to promote this act. To tell others of what a great thing we’ve done. Social media has become the ultimate platform for people to let others know just how good they’ve been and they get the instant reward of praise from others. ‘Oh you’re so good’ ‘well done’ ‘you’re the best’. The addiction to this form of feedback is well document.
But Jesus further warns us of this when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. Matt 6:3-5
Those who seek praise from men on earth forfeit praise and reward in heaven. Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven, Matt 6:1. Whatever instant gratification we receive now from men will be nothing compared to the rewards stored up for us in heaven.
God is the ultimate free giver
God is the ultimate free giver He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to know what has been given. What immense treasures we have received through our knowing Him we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God 1 Cor 2:1. Without the Holy Spirit we cannot know what heavenly treasures we have on earth.
We must be ready to freely give
Henry says – We must be charitable and generous. We must labour to do our neighbours all the good we can. We must be ready to give; “Give to him that asks thee. If you have the ability, look upon the request of the poor as giving you an opportunity for the duty of almsgiving.” When a real object of charity presents we must be guided with discretion (Ps. 112:5 A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion). Look to give to those that are impoverished and deserving, lest we give to the idle and unworthy.
Be kind to those from whom we expect no manner of advantage (Luke 6:35): Lend, hoping for nothing again. We must lend though we have reason to suspect that what we lend we lose, lend to those who are so poor that it is not probable they will be able to pay us again.
Our reward shall be great if we freely give
Here are two motives to this generous charity.  Our reward shall be great, Luke 6:35. What is given, or laid out, or lent and lost on earth, from a true principle of charity, will be made up to us in the other world, unspeakably. “You shall not only be repaid, but rewarded, greatly rewarded; it will be said to you, Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom.”
 It will overflow to our honour; for in so doing we resemble God in His goodness, which is the greatest glory: “Ye shall be the children of the Highest, shall be owned by him as his children, being like him.” It is the glory of God that He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil, bestows the gifts of common providence even upon the worst of men. So Jesus says, Be merciful, as your Father is merciful; this explains Matt. 5:48; “Be perfect, as our Father is perfect. Those that are merciful as God is merciful, even to the evil and the unthankful, are perfect as God is perfect.
Only due to His mercies are we not consumed
This should strongly engage us to be merciful to our brethren, even to those who have been injurious to us. Because we have been, and are, evil and unthankful. It is only due to His mercies that we are not consumed.
Our alms-deeds do not deserve heaven – but we cannot go to heaven without them. It is pure religion (James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world), and will be the test at the great day. Christ here takes it for granted that His disciples give alms, nor will He own those that do not.
It is sometimes rewarded in temporal things with security. (Prov. 28:27 He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses. Ps. 37:25 I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread). Those who give are themselves helped in distress (Ps. 41:1 Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble).
However more importantly it shall be recompensed in the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just), in eternal riches.
Quas dederis, solas semper habebis, opes. The riches you impart form the only wealth you will always retain—Martial.
Those who give to be seen cheat themselves
To those who give to be seen, chose their own delusions and cheat themselves, and they shall have what they chose. It is a present reward, they have it; and there is none reserved for them in the future state. What rewards the godly have in this life are but in part payment; there is much more ahead. But hypocrites have their all in this world, so shall their doom be; themselves have decided it. The world itself is for provision to the saints, it is their spending-money. But to the hypocrites, it is their pay.
Jesus was Himself such an example of humility and pressed it upon His disciples. “Let not your left hand know what your right hand does when you give alms.” The right hand may be used in helping the poor, lifting them up, writing for them, dressing their sores, and other ways besides giving to them. But, conceal it as much as possible. Do it because it is a good work, not because it will give you a good name.” We must not even observe it too much ourselves: the left hand is a part of ourselves. We must not within ourselves take notice too much of the good we do, must not applaud and admire ourselves. Self-conceit and self-complacency, and an adoring of our own shadow, are branches of pride, as dangerous as vain-glory and pretention before men.
When we take least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes most notice of them. It is a comfort to sincere Christians, that God sees in secret.
God is our Paymaster
They who in their alms-giving study to approve themselves to God, only turn themselves over to him as their Paymaster. He will himself be the Rewarder, Heb. 11:6 He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He will reward you as thy Father, not as a master who gives his servant just what he earns and no more, but as a father who gives abundantly more, to his son that serves him.
Then shall every man have praise of God, open praise, you shall be confessed before men. If the work be in secret, the reward shall not be, and that is better.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Bounteous Giving Not what in every situation You can gain Rather what you can give. Let nothing remain. The question must be How do you live? Please not yourself, Live to give. Seek the weak and wandering. Care for all. Place your hands in Mine, You will never fall. Realise My overflowing bounty My inexhaustible stores Are spread before your feet now. Yes today they are yours. But to test and prove My generosity fully You must be generous too. See now My overflowing heart Fresh as the morning dew. My lovers do not give with grudging hands But with hearts that are full and forgiving. For a heart that overflows with gratitude for what it has received Expends joyous gratitude in giving. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, forgive me for hoarding and holding onto what I believe to be mine. Forgive me for not acknowledging that every good thing comes from You. Lead me to be generous in giving and in the taking of no notice when I do. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.
Remember to Freely Give!