What did Jesus mean by His saying: “give to him who asks you”?

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Jesus taught in the sermon on the Mount, “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away” (Matthew 5:42). The apostle Luke reiterated the same message, “Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back” (Luke 6:30).

As the general tone of the whole Sermon on the Mount makes it clear, Christ meant that giving should become the pattern for the believers. They should be there for those that need help or are going through difficult times. Christians should have a generous spirit that is ready and happy to assist according to the need represented. Christians will, as a rule, respond positively to requests that come to them for help. They will be willing to provide for others rather than to reject them.

But Christ’s admonition does not mean that Christians are obliged to give unwisely. The believers should support those who are truly in need and are not able to support themselves like orphans, widows, the elderly, or the disabled. But those that are able to work should not be dependent on others or take advantage of them. The Lord teaches, “if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Adam was told “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:19). The Savior Himself, as “the carpenter,” gave us an example of being industrious (Mark 6:3). The Christian is to do everything in his power to support himself. He should work so that, in addition to supporting himself, he is able to help the needy (Ephesian 4:28).

Paul taught that the NT church has an obligation to all men everywhere (Matthew 28:19, 20), but first to its own members. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). The church cannot serve the non-believers properly unless its own house is in order. And he gave another instruction that all dependent relatives should be cared for by those most closely related to them so that they will not be an unnecessary burden on the church: “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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