THE GENEROSITY OF JESUS PART 1

Mar 9, 2021 | Gilbert’s Podcast

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About This Episode

THE GENEROSITY OF JESUS PART 1

It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)

In the above passage Paul is speaking farewell words to the officers of the church to which he has given more time and love than to any other.

  • He reminds them of things he has often said to them before, and in closing calls to their minds one of the most illuminating and helpful of all the sayings of the Master: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

These words express with rare fullness one of the finest of the traits of Jesus: his generosity.

  • If one were asked to mention  a half dozen key-words of Christian duty, he would be sure to place the word “give” high in the list.  One cannot read the New Testament without being halted by that word, for it occurs repeatedly and always with an emphasis which arrests the heart.
  • His saying, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42), has been to many a mystery and an offense.
  • Mortals are urged to give as God gives, and God’s giving is always fashioned and conditioned by love. He does not give to every man the precise thing which the man asks for. He says to all of us not once, but many times, “No,” “no,” “no!”

GIVING GENEROUSLY

Love can never give where giving would work hurt. The mother cannot give the razor to the little girl who pleads for it, nor can the father grant his son every favor which he asks.

  • In every case the petitioner must be dealt with according to the requirements of the law of love.
  • Jesus threw out the great word “give,” unqualified and naked, allowing it to speak unhindered to the human heart, as a word which holds in it a revelation of the mind of God.

Luke tells us that one day when Jesus was unfolding his idea of generosity, he said, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

  • To understand this you must have been sometime on a farm and watched the farmer measure grains or small fruits.
  • The pressing down and the shaking together and the running over are all graphic and meaningful expressions intended to picture to the mind the kind of measure in which the king of heaven takes delight.
  • He will lose nothing by his liberality, for the world is constructed on a generous principle; and by surrendering himself to the divine spirit of giving, he will be in tune with the Infinite, and shall by no means, lose his reward.
  • He need not be anxious about the precise time when such action shall bring its recompense. It is enough to go forward, giving and asking nothing in return, assured that somewhere and somehow his recompense shall be forthcoming.
  • Let him, therefore, when he makes a dinner or supper, not invite simply his friends or his brethren, or his kindred or his rich neighbors, expecting that they will invite him again.
  • Let him feast with the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, men who cannot give anything in return, and then let him expect from God the blessing which is provided for the generous heart.

That blessing may not come in all its fullness in the world that now is, but there will be a complete recompense at the resurrection of the just. What Jesus said to his disciples he says to all, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).

BLESSINGS AND CURSES

Jesus’ dislike of a close-fisted and parsimonious heart comes out in several of his parables.

  • For example, when he speaks of Dives in his fine linen at his banquet-table while the sick beggar eats crumbs at his gate, we can feel the hot flame of an indignant soul.
  • And where in the New Testament will you find more exuberant praise than that which he lavishes upon the woman who poured out a year’s salary worth of perfume on his head and feet?
  • Miserly souls near him were offended by such extravagance, but he liked it. He appreciated the lavish expenditures of love.
  • When he sees a poor widow throwing her two bits of copper into the treasury in the temple, all the money she had in the world, he does not criticize her for doing a foolish thing as most of us would have done, but he cries out in a shout which has in it the music of a hallelujah, “This poor widow has put in more than all the others” (Luke 21:3).

In a world so filled with grudging and close-fisted men, it cheered his great heart to see now and then a person who had mastered the divine art of giving.

 ULTIMATE GENEROSITY

When he said it is more blessed to give than to receive, he was speaking from a personal experience.

  • He had not read that in a book. He had found it out in life.
  • When he urged men to give freely, abundantly, lavishly, gladly, continually, he was only preaching what he himself practiced.
  • He had no money to give, but he gave without stint what he had. He had time and gave it. The golden hours were his and he gave them. He gave them all.
  • So recklessly did he give them that, in order to find time to pray, it was necessary to use hours when other men were sleeping.
  • He had strength, and he gave it with a liberality which astonished and alarmed his friends. He poured out his energy to the last ounce.
  • At one time we see him seated, exhausted, on the curbing of Jacob’s well; at another time we see him falling asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow on the little boat which was carrying him back to Capernaum.
  • When, on the last day of his life, they laid a beam of timber upon his shoulder, he staggered under it and then fell, so completely had he been exhausted by the arduous labors of the preceding months and years.
  • He saved others, but he himself did not know how to save. He had thought, and he gave it. He had ideas, and he scattered them. He had truth, and he had shared it with men.

Behold a sower goes forth to sow! It is Jesus. Look at him. Watch the swing of that arm. What a generous arm! He scatters the seed on the soil that is rocky. What of it? He scatters the seed in brier patches and thorny corners. He does not mind that.

  • The seed is abundant, and he will scatter it with a lavish hand, hoping that some of it will find the soil which is fertile and which will bring forth a harvest to make glad the heart of God.

Many a teacher has saved his best ideas for a chosen few; Jesus scattered his. He had often ignorant and prejudiced and unresponsive hearts, but he threw his pearls by the handful wherever he went.

  • What glorious ideas he scattered over the crowds of Galilean farmers! What heavenly truths he unfolded to men and women of whom the world took no notice!
  • Never was a teacher such a spendthrift in the squandering of ideas; never did a great thinker pour out his treasures in such a wild and immeasurable profusion. Freely he had received, and therefore freely he gave.

It was not merely the work of the intellect, but also the blood of the heart which he gave.

  • His affection toward men flowed in a stream constant and full. His sympathy covered all classes, and no individual, however low and despised, ever appealed to him in vain.
  • Blind men, on hearing of his approach, lined themselves along the road crying as he passed, “Have mercy also on us.” Lepers who were counted unclean and treated worse than dogs ventured to push their way into his presence and ask for a healing touch.
  • Samaritans, the very offscourings of the world, in the estimation of the orthodox Jew, knew that in this new rabbi they had a benefactor and friend.
  • When he drove the traders out of the Temple, it was the blind and the lame who came to him, knowing that he would not be cast away.

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