Summary: Through the cross, Jesus gives us the freedom to love with abandon and to give recklessly and abundantly.
Luke 6:27-38 “Pass the Blessings”
Martin Luther King in his “I Have a Dream” speech that he delivered in Washington DC on August 28, 1963 proclaimed at the end of the speech, “Free indeed, free indeed, thank God I’m free indeed. “
Christians of all times and places are able to echo Dr. King’s words when we stand at the empty tomb on Easter Sunday. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are truly free.
It is one thing, however, to proclaim one’s freedom. It is an entirely different matter to live freely. Though we live in a free nation, there are very few people who are not enslaved to some addiction, or various attributes of the modern lifestyle.
FREEDOM IS OURS
Because of Jesus life, death and resurrection, we are free from sin. We know longer need to be concerned about our eternal destiny. Jesus has paid the wages of sin--death.
We no longer need to be concerned about impressing God in order to win God’s favor. God proclaimed God’s love for us in the cross. Because of what Jesus did, ever petal that we pull off the blossom saying, “God love’s me, God loves, me not,” is a resounding, “God loves me,” now.
God has declared that there is absolutely nothing in the entire universe that is able to separate us from God and God’s love for us. Satan and the forces of evil have no power over us. The dictates of modern society do not need to control us or compromise our faith and integrity. Death can’t even separate us from God.
The God, who provided for our salvation in the person of Jesus Christ, also provides for all of our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. God invites us to come to him as children do to their father and ask him to give us our daily bread.
Such knowledge and truth brings with it a certain freedom and boldness—even a recklessness. We can walk the edge knowing that Jesus is our net.
A DIFFERENT STYLE OF LIFE
We are blessed to be a blessing. We are loved to love both the unlovable and the unloving in word and deed.
We are challenged to love and bless indiscriminately. The words of Jesus that are contained in the gospel reading today clearly tell us that we are to widen the boarders of our giving. In fact, Jesus is telling us to break down the boarders of our giving and blessing.
God instructed His children not only to be generous but also to show that generosity in a way that was selfless and non-determining. He forbad His people from selecting targets for their generosity or limiting the scope of their generosity. Simply, generosity was something that should flow freely and without restrictions from a loving heart that was filled with gratitude to a gracious God whose supply of mercy and grace was never-ending. It sprang from a wellspring of love that could never be diminished or used up. Therefore, when they planted a field they planted that field not only with themselves in mind but also the weary traveler that might be journeying along that same field at the time of harvest. There were to be no distinctions as to whom that traveler might be. It may be their neighbor but it was more likely to be a stranger. It might even be an alien, someone not living in the land. This reminded God’s people that they were mere caretakers of what He had generously given them in the first place. It wasn’t a supply of grace that they owned. Rather, they were tapped into God’s eternal grace that flows without end. This is also how God asks us to show our generosity. When we qualify it or attempt to “perfect it” through our own wisdom and understanding, we become like those poor Indians; more concerned that the good we possess might be depleted and we would suffer for it. God grant that we may never measure our generosity by our own poor standards, standards of grace that can never hold a candle to the One who IS grace!
God invites us to be creative in our loving and blessing. The invitation is not an example of being used and abused by people. Instead it is an example of responding in such a way to a person that our actions cause the other person to think about what he or she has said or done.
There is the story of a Chinese farmer who was a Christian. He farmed the side of a hill along with a few other farmers. One of the most difficult tasks that the farmer had was to irrigate his crop. He had to carry water from a lake below the hill up to his land. The farmer who owned the land below the Christian farmer was not a Christian. He made life for the Christian almost unbearable, because whenever the Christian farmer irrigated his land the non-Christian would knock down the damn separating their land and the water would flow down and irrigate his land. The Christian farmer, wanting to be a good Christian, would swallow his anger and not say anything. As time went on, however, and the behavior of the non-Christian farmer didn’t change the Christian began to harbor hard feelings and hatred began to grow in him.