Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household. – 2 Kings 7:9
Four men with contagion lived outside the city because of their disease. They faced starvation because of the Aramean siege laid against their city of Samaria. The four men decided they would go to the camp of the enemy to see if they could find food. They could do nothing and die, face the enemy and die, or head back to the city and die. The choice was not a hard one. When they arrived at the enemy camp, they found it abandoned with food, clothing, money, and things scattered about because the LORD had frightened the enemy forces into thinking a large mercenary army was coming to fight them. Thus, they left all and quickly retreated. The four men started plundering the loot for themselves but soon realized their wrong and returned to the city to share the good news with the king. They knew the importance of sharing the blessing of Jehovah with others, for it is better to give than to receive.
We’ve all grown up with the adages “it’s better to give than receive” (Acts 20:35) and “treat others the way you want to be treated” (Matt. 7:12) Isn’t it amazing that these age-old sayings came from the Bible and more importantly taught to us by none other than Jesus himself! What most people do when they come into a bounty is hoard it for themselves. They allow greed and pride to kick in and rule their lives, which ultimately leads to bitterness and resentment toward anyone that would interfere with their nouveau riche status.
Jesus, on the other hand, taught us that it truly is better to give than receive because God has an honored process and promise. Those who give away extremely are blessed extremely. We are to live a blessed or happy life on the earth. This doesn’t meant that there won’t be times of lack or not having much, but we can have a happy and blessed life in this age. How do we do this? We give of our abundance when God pours out his blessing on us. Do you remember when Jesus taught that with great reward comes great responsibility (Luke 12:48)? This principle applies also to giving and receiving. The more God gives us, the more he expects us to give. This life was not meant to be about what you can get and get all you can. No! Jesus taught that where we store our treasures is where our hearts are (Matt 6:21). If we store up sensual things, then we will reap corruption (Gal 6:8). However, if we store up spiritual things, we reap life everlasting (ibid.)!
IF God the Father loves us enough to give his One and Only Son – Jesus – to pay the price for our wrongs that we could never pay and not owed by him, THEN how much more should we be willing to give our ALL for him? As a matter of fact, Jesus taught that the greatest command was to love God with all of our being and the second like it, to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt 22:36-40)! He also said elsewhere that freely we’ve received, and freely we are to give (Matt 10:8)! Therefore, are you and I giving all that we have and are to God and to others? Do we love him and them enough to lay down our wants for the good of the kingdom and to bless others? Jesus reminded us that with whatever measure we use in regards to others is the same measure that will be used on us; however, in the same teaching he stated, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38).
Father, I want to thank you for loving me and showing me the level of your love for me in that you gave Jesus as the payment of my sins and also as the source of my redemption and salvation. Help me to give more and more out of the abundance that you bestow upon me. I know that the more I give of that which you give me, the more I get from you. The point is not to get more for myself but to enjoy from that bounty and to share it with others as did the doomed men with the contagion. They knew the responsibility they had to share the fortune with those who were in the same dire straights they were. May your people come to learn this lesson that hoarding is wrong and to be selfish is wrong. We sum up all of the OT in this one thing – loving our neighbors as ourselves, which shows how much we love you! Your will be done, not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.