Monday, June 15, 2015

Give To the One Who Asks

As your fellow workers, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:1-2

“If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”  Matthew 5:40-42

This chapter in our first reading from Paul’s second letter to the people in Corinth, Greece, might contain the single longest sentence in the Bible.  Your eyes will travel from verse 3 through verse ten in order to find a period punctuating the end of the sentence.  However, the appeal to the people of Corinth is simply put:  Now is the acceptable time to behold salvation. 

Now.  The present moment.

Just like when Jesus unfurled the scrolls in his hometown temple in Nazareth, he appealed to the congregation not to waste time.  The spirit of the Lord was upon him and the ears of his audience.  Paul appeals also to the people of Corinth that now is the best time for the scriptures to be fulfilled through their actions. 

Those actions might be elaborate and involve much suffering as listed by Paul in his letter.  They also might demand serving the belligerent Roman army by walking with them two miles because garrisons in Palestine had the right to “requisition” or demand the property and services of the Jews.  In either case, Jesus says to grant the request.  

We may never be pressed to carry the backpack of an invading army.  However, every day, we are likely to be asked to perform small acts of kindness.  The Christian response:  “just give to the one who asks.” 

Be aware of appeals that you hear today and respond in the spirit of Matthew’s Good News.

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