Skip to main content

Disciples Function in Merciful Generosity With All People

“But I say to you who listen: 
Love your enemies
Do what is good to those who hate you
Bless those who curse you
Pray for those who mistreat you

If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. 
And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 
Give to everyone who asks you
And from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back
Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.  

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
   Even sinners love those who love them.
If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?
   Even sinners do that.
And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?
   Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full.

But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.
   Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.
      For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.

Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
   Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
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 back to you.”

He also told them a parable: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? 
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
-Luke 3:27-40 (HCSB)

I was thinking about the issue of reciprocal relationships and mutuality, how there is an equal giving on both sides.  The idea is that if someone does not give to you, then you do not give to them; or as the saying goes, "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours".

It turns out that these ideas run counter to the lifestyle that Jesus laid out for his disciples.  The first verse of the passage above tells me that Jesus wants me to love people who are not loving to me.  Jesus says that I don't get credit when I just love the ones who love me.

Credit means grace, favor, or blessing.  Jesus is saying that when I love the ones who aren't loving towards me, I get grace, favor, or blessing from God.  Then, I am living out my heritage as a son of the Most High and will get rewarded.  

Within the same context, Jesus tells me that I am not to judge and not to condemn.  The command not to condemn clarifies how we are not to judge.  We can speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and not be condemning.  

Wrongly judging is to pronounce judgement.  To say that, "sin leads to death and and I see you dying in sin", is not condemnation although it might be received that way.  To say, "that's wrong", when we see someone hurting another, committing murder as the foremost example, is not wrongly judging.

I think that in the context of the lifestyle of mercy and generosity that Jesus teaches his disciples, he is saying not to punish, exclude, or shun someone who is unloving, ungenerous, and unmerciful towards us.  The disciple's eye is on God, who is the rewarder of godliness and the judge of the ungodly.

The way of the world is reciprocity expressed in a purely symbiotic, parasitic relationship; where we enter in and consume from each other purely out of self interest.  That is the complete opposite of kingdom living.  In the kingdom we love the not so loving, give where it is not returned, and do good to those who act like they don't care about us.

The kingdom lifestyle, the way of the disciple of Jesus, is to give to others - time, money, and our emotional energy; while not expecting a return.  But, the other side of that same coin is that the disciple has their eye on God.

Jesus teaches us how to relate to people and relate to God.  The key is that our reward is from God, from Father.  The disciple experiences being a child of the Most High, in their earthly life; of which the fruit is how we relate to people.

God gives disciples merciful, generous hearts that reflect Father and the Master, Jesus' character.  Discipleship is training for life in relating to others like Jesus.  That is where we are going.

My original text I started with, when I was pondering how I am supposed to relate to people who do not reciprocate very much, was Luke 6, verse 32, that says, "what credit is that to you?".   I got the point, that Jesus was saying, "reciprocal, matching-grant-relationships is not what you, my disciple are called to..."  He wants me to live in the kingdom lifestyle that he taught.

Another way of saying, "what credit is that to you?", is, "where is the grace or blessing in that?"  We are called to be a blessing and to be gracious.  When someone experiences graciousness, it means that unmerited favor was given to them.

We, as Christians, and we, as disciples are called to be purveyors of grace and blessing through generosity and mercifulness.  The payment for that lifestyle is from Father.  Sons and daughters act like their papa.

Jesus teaches us that that is where we, his followers, are headed.  Believers receive his call to become his disciples.  Disciples grow into being sons and daughters, as a lifestyle.  All believers are called to be disciples.

What do you call a "Christian" who is not a disciple?  What do you call a home-group leader, a seminarian, a teacher, or an ordained minister that is not a disciple?

The path goes like this: believer -----> disciple -----> servant  -------> child & slave.  This post is not about the paradox of being a child of God and a slave, nor is is about being a servant.  My point here is that if you are a believer, then you get to enroll in discipleship.  And my question is how do we define ourselves as believers or Christians, but then we bypass discipleship?  What then does that make us?

It is never too late to begin being a disciple.  Let's go.

The photo above is of the "Monument of Mercy", depicting Richard Rowland Kirkland.


Popular posts from this blog

The Two Disciples and The Two Donkeys

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task.  He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away.  Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said,  Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.”  The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
-Matthew 21:1-7

On what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. But, he had two disciples get two donkeys: a mother donkey and her colt. Jesus rode the young male who had never been ridden before. In his carefulness and perhaps kindness towards these two donkeys, he had th…

Teaching vs. Indoctrination

As usual, Paul went to the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures.
-Acts 17:2

There is a difference between teaching and indoctrination.  Education is not indoctrination.  But some secular and christian education is indoctrination masquerading as education.

If you are a teacher, whether you homeschool your children, teach at the pro level or you teach in your church; it is good to know this difference between indoctrination and true teaching.  Many people are indoctrinated today, rather than taught.

What you might notice, is that when you preach, whether you preach to a crowd or a few, it is easy to be an indoctrinator rather than a true teacher.  True teachers ask people questions and expect them to challenge and debate them.


Sharing ideas and conceptsTeaching is absorbed and integrated into one's own lifeConcepts or ideas are questioned and debatedMaterial is reflected uponStudents summarize back what's being learnedStudents thin…

God's Secret, Hidden People

(The children) of Elam 1,254.  -Ezra 2:7

Do you feel hidden?

The name Elam means secret or hidden.  Do you feel like you are on the shelf, not being used by God?  Maybe you are part of God's secret agents.

God has people who are in secret.

I have this idea that God has His attention on secret people.   I believe that God has rewards for secret people coming.  You may feel on the shelf, but you are actually hidden for a special purpose.  God has you in reserve.

The number one thousand, two-hundred, and fifty-four; tells us God's plan for his hidden, secret, and in reserve children

One thousand speaks of recompense.

Recompense means that you will be compensated or made amends to, due to harm or loss you suffered. In Genesis 20:16 is the story of Abimelech recompensing Abraham and Sarah.

Two speaks of fellowship, partnership, and co-laboring (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

There are hidden people who have felt like they are "going it alone", who are about to be joined by someone.  …