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Jesus' Command To Love Generously

The Sermon of the Beatitudes by James Tissot
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

"Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
-Luke 6:27-49 (NLT)

My thoughts below are based on Luke 6:38, where Jesus says, "The amount you give will determine the amount you get back."  You might have had this verse taught to you, as being about financial giving, to your church.  That's what I heard.  While I think it can be applied to giving, I think the application of the verse is much broader.  Jesus is actually talking about a generous heart.  That is why I posted the 22 verses of context for the text of Luke 6:38.

This is what I journaled on my phone last Monday night:

The idea that we would extend grace to someone having their 3rd divorce or 3rd time in rehab. Not giving up on anyone. We have hope and are there for them- available, but they have (to carry) their own load.

Radical freedom & grace. We give out these because we are receiving them from God. They go hand and hand. We can only give out what we have or are receiving. That is the key.

How much grace would God extend to you if you failed? We need to get that for ourselves and then give it to others who are failing. This is not endorsing failure, but 'failures', as in the people who fail.
Their fail could be an attempt at something admirable or it could be sin, as in moral failure. Love the 'failure'.

Remember the word that kindness leads to repentance. What about kindness towards sinners? How can we be kind or extend grace towards failures and those who are failing and do not know it? How can we receive God's grace to such a degree that we give it out, instead of judging, shunning, teaching, or being ungracious in any way?

There may also be something to how we hold back on extending grace to anyone and it lessens the grace God flows to us, because it says give and it shall be given - with the manner that you give you shall receive. Manner is amount. It's not that God holds back, but we hold ourselves back from receiving if we don't or won't give!

Jesus is declaring a spiritual principle or law. It is absurd to cry out or desire or expect to receive but not give. You can perhaps unstop the lack of receiving by giving in the area where you have need.
(end of journal entry)

So, where Jesus has me, is in obeying his commands towards a generous heart.  I believe that the door to a wider, deeper, and more joyous life is obeying Jesus.  We know that he is the door (John 10:9).  His words here are a challenge to us Christians who need more generous hearts.

I am reflecting on all the generous people that God has brought into my life.  Generosity is at the heart of who Jesus is and at the heart of the gospel.  And when we are not generous, we actually stop up the flow of God's generosity into our lives.  Wow.  Did you get that?

Jesus, later, adds another part to this, when he said, "how you give will determine how you get", in Luke 12:48, when he says, "When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required."

I am a person who has been given much. I do not want to be high on knowledge and low on obedience.  I know he is looking for obedient love.   I want to express my love for Jesus by obeying his commands.  I want to say, "Lord", and live out his Lordship over me.  I know that is the door to the joyful, abundant life that he has for me.

It is so easy to learn and study, but then not do.  It is like the verse says, "it is for freedom that he has set you free".  I personally love to study things I am passionate about.  But I do not learn how to do them by studying.  I got the word, "study to show thyself approved", from Timothy, a long time ago.   Study, study, study; then show thyself, show thyself, show thyself.  Then God does the approval part, grading on a grace curve.

I hear the words, "show thyself", or "show me what you've got".  And it's mainly myself encouraging myself, in the Lord.  You've read it, been taught it, you've learned it, and you get it.  Now do it.  If I am going to be of any help to others, I need to go first.  The last thing I want to be is a teacher who does not do what he teaches.


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