In Luke 6 we get three groups of people. It starts with Jesus’ disciples. From that group Jesus selects the 12 apostles. After that selection, Jesus and all his disciples go out to the plain to preach. When he gets there the crowd grows from just being Jesus, his apostles and other disciples to also including people from surrounding towns and regions. There is the third group, the crowd. They aren’t Christ-followers. They show up when convenient and when Jesus is done or they find it convenient, they go back home. Luke tells us the crowd came for three reasons: to hear Jesus, to be healed of disease and to be delivered from evil spirits.
These guys came, got their healing, heard a little preaching and went home. They didn’t immediately follow Jesus. Jesus healed them anyway. I can’t tell you how many times that I have reached out to people I initially encountered through benevolence ministry. In the back of my mind I am always wondering if this person will become a Christian through our acts of compassion. Most of the time they don’t. Most of the time they just want a bill paid or some food and then, like the crowds Jesus healed, they leave. But Jesus healed them anyway. Jesus showed compassion and mercy to people who would never become disciples and so should we.
Matt, you are correct when you say that many times people come to us with ulterior motives. But, as you point out, we need to ask ourselves if we are helping them from ulterior motives. It’s hard to condemn other people when we are often guilty of the same thing, although our ulterior motives are hidden in a wrapping of spirituality.
Interstingly also didn’t Jesus tell some people ‘don’t tell’?…. It’s hard sometimes to not want to be noticed for a good and/or thankless deed like giving a hand to someone ‘just because’…
thanks for the post Matt
What does that say about how we should serve people? Should we just give without any expectation of life change? Could we even do that? Are WE the ones with expectations about what should happen?
Grace and wisdom = tough balance. Enabling isn’t helpful but sometimes we just have to help in graceful ways because none if us deserve it. Also, it is important to know the difference between development and relief. Every case of benevolence presents itself as relief/emergency when many need development which is more long term equipping
That’s where I was going with the questioning. Jesus says we should give, not with any qualifications, but to show both our heart and intention to display the love of God, regardless of the heart of someone else. I’m not called to interview the homeless person on the road before I bless them with food or money, I’m called to give. Jesus modeled this by showing countless times that regardless of what happens after you leave, when the people of God show up, life should get better.