By Jasmine Williams, Crosswalk.com
As Christians, we know we are called to give generously to others. To local churches, charities or friends in need, there is no shortage of places our generosity can go toward. While there are lots of Bible verses on giving, some of them, like Luke 6:30, can leave us wondering exactly how much God expects us to give.
It reads, “Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, don’t ask for them back.” (Luke 6:30 CSB)
With God’s example of unconditional love through Christ, surely we should be willing to give sacrificially too, right? But does this mean we should give others whatever they ask of us? Let’s examine this verse and see how it applies to followers of Christ today.
What Is the Context of Luke 6:30?
Luke 6:30 falls within a passage where Jesus was teaching about loving your enemies. He was telling His disciples to do good, even to those who mistreat them. Also in this passage is found another version of the oh so popular Golden Rule – “Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them” (Luke 6:31, Matthew 7:12, CSB).
In this set of verses, Luke 6:27-36, Jesus mentions many forms of giving to those who are considered enemies. He says to love them, bless them and pray for them. He even says to graciously accept their mistreatment and give them the very clothes you are wearing if they ask for them!
While this may sound like a hard list of commands to obey, He wasn’t asking His disciples to do anything He wouldn’t do Himself. Consider the brutal mistreatment Jesus endured in His life, especially on the cross, for both His friends and enemies. What He’s really doing in Luke 6:30 is commanding His followers to be like Him.
This was prior to the establishment of the Church, and Jesus was on a mission to show the world He was not like it. He, being one with God, loved beyond what the world could comprehend and instructed His followers to do the same. His motto was simple - winning souls to God is more important than being comfortable. Wow!
Essentially, He was telling us to be willing to lay down our lives if doing so can point others to God.
How Do We Live Out Luke 6:30?
How exactly does this apply today? For most of us living in "safer" parts of the world, we aren't proving our love by dying sacrificially, not in a literal sense anyway. Nor are we trying to establish the Church during a time when no one has heard of God coming to earth as Jesus. Instead, we are several generations away from that, still hoping to impact the world for Christ and lead others to Him. He knows we can’t do that without looking like Him, and this is why He commanded us to love, bless and pray for our enemies. As tough as it can be, when someone mistreats us, rather than seeking retaliation, we should let God handle it for us and seek to remain peaceful and loving.
In regards to Luke 6:30 specifically, Jesus does want us to give to whomever asks something of us. However, the verse does not say to give whatever someone asks. That is a huge difference, and we have to consider the totality of Scripture. Verses like Colossians 3:23 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 remind us that everything we do should glorify God. This includes our giving.
If someone is asking us to do something that dishonors God, of course we shouldn’t. If one person or group of people are always needing our help, causing us to be unavailable for others, that may be something that dishonors God. After all, the verse says to give to anyone who asks, not to one person who asks over and over again.
There may be times when God does want us to support someone for a season, but it shouldn’t tie up our time and resources in such a way that blocks us from serving or giving to anyone else. Situations like this can be hard to navigate, especially when loved ones are involved. We have to pray for godly wisdom on how to be good stewards over the resources God gives to us.
What Big Picture Was Jesus Teaching?
While it’s easy to focus on what Luke 6:30 is not saying, there is a blessing in understanding what it is saying. We always have something to pour out and give to others, even when we feel like we don’t. The passage, Luke 6:27-36, mentions many ways to give—emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Being a non-judgmental listening ear, helping someone financially when possible, praying for someone going through a tough time—these are all ways we can give to whomever asks of us. Rather than using Luke 6:30 to focus on what we do not have to give, we can use it to consider all the ways we actually can give.
By giving generously and sacrificially to others, especially our enemies, we put on the character of Christ and are blessed for doing so. Verse 36 says “…Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil" (Luke 6:36).
So no, we should not give others anything they ask of us, but we should be willing to give everyone something, even those who we know would never do the same for us. This is the heart of God and His call for us as we carry out His agenda in the earth. In all honesty, it’s not easy to keep such a mindset. Life happens, and many things can make us want to guard instead of give, to shield instead of share. But when we stay close to Jesus through prayer, His Word, and a daily dying to self, we become more and more equipped to live our lives as He did His.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Ridofranz
Jasmine Williams, founder of Built To Be, is an agent of change with a passion for Jesus and a love for family. As a wife, mom of four, homeschooler and seminary student, she knows the challenges and rewards of living purposefully for God even through life’s busy seasons.
Jasmine is pursuing her M.A. in Biblical Studies and seeks to inspire parents to embrace their homes as places of ministry, where they welcome God’s presence and raise children to be disciples of Christ. Visit her website, builttobe.com, and connect with her on Facebook for more encouragement.
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