Luke 6:30 has me thinking. I mean, rethinking.
When I (Haley) started working at the Rochester Salvation Army in 2014, it was right before the peak of local discussions on panhandlers. Everyone has their own approach on how to handle people soliciting money.
Perhaps the most common response is to ignore the person. The common response seems to be to smile and acknowledge their presence. Some will engage in conversation and learn more about their story. Few may give, perhaps reluctantly, to avoid additional pressure or guilt. Others will pass out prepackaged bags with snacks and hygiene items. Now and then I’ll hear about people passing out job applications or resources for local non-profits and shelters.
With the wide variety of ways we can respond, I think I’ve had numerous conversations (with others and with myself) on every single response, the good and the bad.
And, without digging into the context of the passage and the culture, Luke 6:30 has caused me to rethink every single one of those conversations.
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
Whether they have good intentions or bad intentions for the items given or taken from you, we’re called to give. To let it be. Or taking it a little further with Matthew 5:40, to go above and beyond in our giving. Or as 1 Peter 3:9 says, to repay evil with blessing.
No matter the circumstance we’re called to give. To bless. To spread kindness.
Some may call this radical…because the Bible is pretty radical. I think Jesus is inviting us to stop overthinking every situation, to give fully in the moment, and then move on. Don’t over-analyze what just happened in your giving, but move on and invest fully in the next moment.
With each gift, each blessing, given willingly or taken taken against our will, God seems to prompt: let it be.