Tuesday, July 8, 2008

yeah but did he really mean that?

I was reading the Sermon on the Mount this morning when I read Jesus saying, "Give to everyone who begs from you..."(Luke 6:30). I used the English Standard Version (ESV) and had not seen the term begs before; it caught my attention. Now the NKJV, NASB, and NIV instead use asks (AV, asketh). However, the NRSV and RSV also use begs.

I looked up the original word in Strongs and then realized that the different translations do not matter. If someone asks, then give. If someone begs, then give. That is what it says. No big mystery here. Nothing subtle.

I don't know anyone who really does this. We often want to check out people's motives or whether they deserve it. In short, we judge people. We don't want to be played for suckers or be taken advantage of. This is a good thing isn't it?

When faced with beggars I usually don't know what to do. Most often in less developed countries the needs are real, but not always. In New Delhi, India I saw professional beggars overseen by the equivalent of pimps who controlled territories and who grab large shares of the take. The beggars were essentially exploited employees (or worse).

Did Jesus really mean to give to everyone? I read this and I get the yeah buts. Yeah but aren't we to use some discretion? Yeah but don't we need to be wise as serpents? Yeah but don't we need balance? Yeah but he'll probably spend it on drugs. Yeah but we need to put this in context.

In context? Interestingly, just a few verses later Jesus commands, “Judge not, and you will not be judged..."(v.37). All my "yeah buts..." are merely different ways of judging.

I want to argue, I want to rationalize why this doesn't really mean what it says.

I'm not having too much success so far.

Be blessed.
RB

P.S. A good rule of thumb is that when someone says "Yeah but..." it really means "No because...."

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