For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that
knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will
he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being
evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father
which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever
ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the
prophets (Matthew 7:8-12).
The words of Jesus draw us to consider the absurd as we read the passage shown above.
We cannot imagine anyone giving a stone or a serpent to a son who asks for something to
eat. To consider doing so would mean that you would be crazy. Instead, as Jesus points
out, we would give a child the things that are good for that child. We would use wisdom
and sound judgment, and to the best of our abilities we would seek to give that which is
best, and that which is appropriate.
In fact, consider reasons why we should give anything to anyone for reasons other than
those that are thought out and wisely concluded. For what purpose would there be in trying
to serve someone who need not be served, or in trying to help someone who need not be
helped? What purpose would there be in stopping to help someone change a flat tire when
they are almost half finished with the job and appear to be doing the job quite well on
their own? And what purpose is there in giving money to someone who has no need for any
more? What is there to gain and who is it who will gain when help is offered where none is
Although the best intentions are present, being too helpful could sometimes be as bad as
not helping when one needs help. Imagine if you will that Jesus comes upon a man sitting
on a bench. The man appears to be resting, but suddenly he hears Jesus say, "Rise up
and walk." The implication of course is that Jesus is trying to heal the man--a man
who can already walk. Of course that is ludicrous to consider that Jesus would ever do
such a thing. For though we see in our Lord His willingness to serve and to give, we also
see the wisdom in which He administers what He has to give.
It may be that we have a deep down desire to be better givers. We read in the Bible that
"God loveth a cheerful giver" and we are motivated toward generosity. But the
way we give is certainly as important as the giving. 2 Corinthians 9:7, wherein we find
the words, "God loveth a cheerful giver," we also find some guidelines for the
way to give. We are told, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let
him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity." The quality of giving is weighed through
wise and appropriate administration. We are not to give so as not to feel guilt, yet we
are also not to give for the sake of giving alone. The gift should be appropriate for the
If we look for somewhere to serve or some way to give, we can probably come up with
something. But giving and serving should be a response to a need that God has made you
aware of. To do otherwise can easily snare us in a trap of ritualistic or religious giving
that is done more often than not for the sake of the giver, rather than the receiver.
May God grant us wisdom to give appropriately, "not grudgingly, or of necessity: for
God loveth a cheerful giver."