Matthew 5:42, "Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

Are we generous or stingy? Jesus' way is to be generous. Jesus wants us to have open hearts, open minds, and open hands. Jesus is not giving a legalistic command, obligating us to bankrupt our families for every panhandler and grifter that refuses to work for a living. But he is saying that our first thought and emotion should be to be gracious to anyone who asks.

Even if we decide to not to help fulfill a specific request, if our first thought and inclination is to be gracious, we will look for another way to help, rather than just turning people away. Our response should always be, "Yes, I'll help," even if we help in another way. Means, opportunity and wisdom may determine how we help, but our inclination is also to be "Yes."

When Jesus came to a blond beggar, He did not give him any money. He healed the blind man, who was then able to help himself. When Peter and John went to pray, they had no silver and gold, but in Jesus' name, they healed a lame man who was then able to help himself.

In our culture, with all the requests and demands for help, even church folks can get into the habit of saying, "No" or just turning away. This is not Jesus' way. As followers of Jesus, like Peter and John, we need to help, in Jesus' name. According to our means, as we have opportunity, when it is in our power to act, we should look for a way to meet people's needs.

However, we must never be side-tracked from people's greatest need. People's greatest need is for Jesus, not religion, but for Jesus, himself. Jesus knew that.

With compassion in His heart, Jesus fed people and told us to give a cup of cold water to people. Jesus healed people, physically. But most importantly, Jesus gave them hope of eternal life. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me."

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