ODJ: Stuff We Need

July 13, 2016 

READ: Matthew 5:42, 6:19-25  

If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you! (Proverbs 19:17).

The term “free spirit” fits my son Seth as comfortably as his secondhand, graffiti-splattered jacket and 15 year old jeans. Now in his early 20s, he truly stands out due to his eclectic style, but he also possesses an incredible work ethic and a heart the size of the Sahara.

Each morning, Seth leaves his one-room flat and takes his longboard, tools, energy drinks and lunch to work in one of my old military sea bags. One day as he waited at the bus stop, a homeless man trudged past, carrying all his earthly goods in two plastic bags. Seth surveyed the rips in the bags and promptly proposed a trade. The disbelieving man ambled off happily with a sturdy canvas sea bag in his possession.

“Hey, the guy has needs!” Seth later explained. “I can always get one of those.”

Seth reflexively puts into practice what Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount: giving lavishly “to those who ask”, not storing up treasures for himself “here on earth” and taking Jesus at His word when He said, “I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear” (Matthew 5:42, 6:19,25). As Jesus said, “Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (v.8).

Jesus also reminded us, “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (7:11).

My son recently visited me. During our conversation, he mentioned, “Hey, can I get another one of those old sea bags of yours?” Yes—yes he can! It’s just holding stuff I don’t need anyway.

Just as God has lavishly poured out His love and grace on us, may we freely share with others!

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: Matthew 9:27-38

Read Matthew 7:7-11 and see what Jesus said about parents giving good gifts to their children and how God the Father cares for us. 
What things—tangible or intangible—do you cling to? How can you give lavishly to God and others today?