GENEROUS TO TAKERS

On a daily basis, I am faced with decisions about obligation and commitment. How am I to deal with the needs of others? Where is the line between serving others and becoming a rescuer? Where is the line that makes me feel good about doing good works in moderation?

Or what about the times that I need to ask others to help me? Where are the lines about borrowing and lending?

Some will reach into the fuzzy memory of bible verses and quote, ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be.’ Where is that verse? It might be in that book near the end; isn’t it called Conquerdance (concordance)?

In fact, it’s not a bible verse at all. It is from Act 1 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It does describe a common desire to not be burdensome- do not borrow. It describes protecting ourselves from users- do not lend.

But what did Jesus say?

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

Jesus encourages us to be generous, prioritizing people above our property. It causes to extend grace and trust sometimes to people who we suspect may not pay us back. In the face of legitimate need, what would Jesus do?

One of the saints of the Church was a man named Martin of Tours.

While Martin was still a soldier he experienced the vision that became the most-repeated story about his life. He was at the gates of the city of Amiens with his soldiers when he met a scantily dressed beggar. He impulsively cut his own military cloak in half and shared it with the beggar.
That night he dreamed that Jesus came to him and returned the half cloak Martin had shared with him. He heard Jesus say to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized; he has clad me."  


After that dream, young Martin made an important decision. He went and was baptized. He understood that loving Jesus had everything to do with his care of others.

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