What if I give all I have? / What will that gift do? / My child, a gift like that could change the world / It could feed a multitude – Ray Boltz, What If I Give All, from the 1996 album No Greater Sacrifice
The Christ is in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount. He is in His element: He is teaching God’s truth. And at this point He takes time to address the issues of giving and worry. He talks about how when His people give, it should be quietly without drawing attention to the act. And how it should be selfless without holding back. I tell you now I have trouble giving sometimes. I tend to think of it in monetary terms and without a job, that’s hard to come by. But the truth of the matter is, there are many other things I can give: my time, my attention, my praise, my patience, clothes I no longer wear, my encouragement…and yes, what little money I have. I should give for the pleasure of giving as a response to God’s great love for me. The question I should ask each time is: Would I still do this if no one would ever know I did it? And then do it.
After the subject of giving, and not counting the cost, Jesus tackles the next logical step in the process: worry. Worry that I won’t have enough. Worry that the cost will be too high. Worry that I will be in great need after I give. And He basically says, “Don’t sweat it.” I need to keep in mind that there is no need to worry about tomorrow because God does not ignore those who put Him first and depend on Him. Any worry I conjure up shows a lack of faith in, and understanding of, God – who He is (Jevohah Jirah) and what He’s about (He wants us to bring our needs to Him). Notice, this is not a prosperity gospel. Such talk belongs only to false prophets. “God meets daily needs daily. Not weekly or annually. He will give you what you need when you need it” – Max Lucado, Facebook post from July 18, 2011, but He will not necessarily spoil us with more than we need.
Worry is a fear-based emotion and over 365 times in Scripture, God tells us not to be afraid. In his book, “Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear”, Max Lucado writes: “Become a worry-slapper. Treat frets like mosquitos. Do you procrastinate when a bloodsucking bug lights on your skin? ‘I’ll take care of it in a moment’. Of course you don’t! You give the critter the slap it deserves. Be equally decisive with anxiety” – p. 49 (2012).
I must be open-handed and give freely. I must also rely on Him to meet my daily needs. Verse 33 is the key: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” From Matthew’s pen to my heart. From my heart to God’s ear.