The Generous Life

by Lester Young

It’s amazing the way revelation works. Over the years, you can read a particular verse or passage in the Scriptures time and again. You can become so familiar with it that you could literally recite it by memory from beginning to end; and even get so ‘comfortable’ with its words that you begin to think to yourself, “Yeah, yeah…I know all about that (verse). No need to go over it again or hear it preached anymore. I got it; I understand it – nothing more for me to learn there.” Yeah, right.

But then you do read or hear it again, and you see something you never quite saw or thought about before. It could be something really, really deep and profound…or something really, really simple – you know, that “as-plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face” kind of simple and utterly profound; so much so that it leaves you sitting there wondering how you could have missed it all this time. And it alters your thinking and outlook from then on.

Well, I got smacked with the ‘really simple and profound’ one recently. I just happened to be looking at Matthew 9:18, where Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, arrived to ask Jesus to come home with him and heal his daughter. Jesus’ response to the request was that He “arose, and followed [Jairus]” (verse 19). Okay, fine, straightforward…read it a hundred times…yeah, He went with him. Then, a thought flashed through my cerebral cortex: “He [Jesus] always went!” I was then prompted to back up a few verses to get the feel of the setting that they were in. As it turns out, they were right in the middle of dinner, or some meal – the point is, they were eating.

Jesus interrupted His meal, not to just go across the room, but to leave the building and go with this man all the way over to his house – while His lasagna sat there, destined to get cold. (If that doesn’t resonate with you, just think about the times you may have been a little less than ‘warm and inviting’ when someone needed your help while you were in the middle of throwin’ down at the dinner table. I ask you to consider…because at the moment I’d just as soon not think about my own past actions, thank you very much…but I digress.)

Now, Jairus was a person of considerable standing in the community. He was one of the synagogue rulers. And, back in the day, that was a really big deal. This man wasn’t treated like we treat some of our pastors and men of God today. Anyway, he asked something of Jesus, and Jesus didn’t say a word; He just got up and went with him.

While they were on the way, some woman had the nerve to come up to Jesus – well, she actually had the nerve to fight her way up to Him. Apparently, she’d had enough of things as they were and decided she was not going to be denied what she needed (Mark 5:25-28). I say that because in her then-present condition (this is, of course, the woman with the issue of blood; and being out in public with an issue of blood made one unclean according to Jewish Law [Leviticus 15:25]), she risked being stoned just for being around other people. In fact, Jairus, the one whose time she was ultimately taking up, could have been the one to put her on the program. Nevertheless, she got what she went there for; and Jesus didn’t stop, rebuke or condemn her – in fact, He blessed her! (Mark 5:34) And, Jairus, fortunately (for his daughter), didn’t say a word – though it’s pretty likely he was standing there twiddling him thumbs with a great deal of force while waiting on them to finish up. But, I’m sure he was well aware of the ‘irony’ that would have been present in his asking for mercy for his own daughter while spitting out judgment upon someone else (Psalm 18:25-26).

Can you see what I’m getting at? Jesus was open, willing and generous toward everybody that came to Him, from the ruler of the people all the way down to a despised woman who was an eyelash away from being hit by a bunch of (substantially) large rocks. He never turned anyone down. Whenever someone asked of Him, He always gave them what they had need of. Always! I don’t think the word ‘No’ was in His vocabulary.

Jesus is the perfect picture of God’s heart toward us (Hebrews 1:3). Indeed, ‘No’ isn’t in God’s vocabulary toward His children – only for matters pertaining to Satan or the curse or things which simply are not for our good. He’s said so: all His promises are ‘Yes!’ to us through Christ Jesus when we respond to Him by saying, “Amen!” – that is, “I agree; So be it!” (2 Corinthians 1:20). It’s also why Jesus said, “Give to [all] those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow;” because Love gives (Matthew 5:42 NLT; John 3:16). Such a simple and yet utterly profound mindset. He’s telling us to be just like Him, and live the ‘generous’ life (1 John 4:17) – even when it’s right in the middle of your dinner.

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6 Comments to “The Generous Life”

  1. Love your posts. They always hit home. On Sunday, my pastor was teaching about rewards and he used Luke 10:38, the story of Martha and Mary. While he was talking it occurred to me that Martha kept her eyes on the problems, and Mary kept her eyes on the problem solver, Jesus.

  2. I love the story of when Jesus stops and asks – who touched me. I love any story that involves women and Jesus especially. I think sometimes, as that is my pet peeve, so to speak, pointing out Jesus respect and treatment of women, I too over look Jesus as a whole – the Bible as a whole. I start weeding things out, pushing my agenda wanting to get on the top of my little mountain and say “SEEEEEE, Jesus, himself said this…” And I skim and nod over the rest – it’s great to be pulled by the shoulder every once in awhile and be reminded He is there for everyone if we just slow down on what we want – our own justice, not His.

    • Hi Sandra.

      I know what you mean…it’s often just a matter of our not really listening intently during our reading and/or prayer time. Not remembering that, as God’s children, we’ve been given the very mind of Christ (and so acknowledging and factoring in that His Anointing is at work in our own minds and thinking processes), and not really taking a moment to regard and consider some of the thoughts that come to us during those quiet times with Him. Your words ‘slowing down’ resonate loudly..that’s the best way to really hear Him. Slowing down and quieting down that ‘running conversation’ we all have going on in our heads most of the time…that’s the only way we can hear His ‘still, small voice.’ As always, thanks, Sandra…

      Lester

  3. How wonderful to read this post early morning in this tiny island of Guam! God’s Word is indeed like a deep river that never dries out, but just keeps on giving us fresh new insights! Thank you for sharing your revelation, Lester, that Jesus always went, and always said “Yes”. And that God’s promises are always “Yes and Amen”! Dee

    • Guam, huh..that’s a lot of water! Yes, we seem to easily forget that God made promises to us in order to fulfill them to us…because that’s His nature. He is love, and pure Love just naturally gives. And He wants very much for us to receive the things He’s already said He wants us to have – just as we get great joy to bless our children with good gifts, and see them beam with delight…just because we love them. Thanks as always, Dee!

      Lester

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