Tuesday, March 26th
Lend: to give for temporary use on condition that the same or its equivalent be returned; to give with the assistance or support of; accommodate
Luke 6:34-35 (NRSV)
If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.
There are a variety of definitions of the word lend, but when Jesus tells us to “lend, expecting nothing in return,” isn’t he specifying and then contradicting the first meaning of the word? If we lend something, isn’t it with the understanding that it will eventually be returned? Otherwise it would be a gift. We would be “giving” or “providing” or “sharing.” Why doesn’t he just continue to say, “Give…” as he does earlier in this passage? Why is the word, “lend” used here, only to have Jesus undo it?
I wonder if Jesus is instructing us this way to allow people to keep their dignity as much as possible. In high school, a fellow band member asked if he could borrow money for lunch. Thinking he meant this, I gave him money each day for a week or so- never to receive payment back. I asked him about the money a few weeks later and he just looked sheepish. I then realized that his pride had kept him from asking me to “give” him some money. When we offer our gift as a “loan” (not really expecting repayment), we honor and uphold the one who is in need by treating our gift as a temporary exchange between two equals.
Sometimes we are called to be generous in more ways than one; generous with our gifts but also generous in our humility. The blessings we are able to share with others have come from God alone. When we recognize that we are all equal in the eyes of God, we give to those in need without coming across as pious, prideful, more fortunate, or somehow “above” their station in life. In doing so, we honor the recipient- as well as the One who tells us to do so!
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash