In Matthew 10:8, Jesus says to His disciples, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” To us, this may seem far-fetched, even impossible, but to Jesus, this is the everyday stuff of life in His Kingdom. So, rather than skip over this passage as belonging to another time, let’s linger here and ponder.
When you care for someone who is sick and unable to care for himself, you touch on something in the very nature of God who is full of compassion and mercy. When you attend with careful diligence to someone you love who is dying, you are close to the heart of God who gave His Son to die in your place. When you relieve someone of a burden of guilt through the faith-filled act of forgiveness, you partake in the divine exchange that occurs through deliverance, and you experience the cleansing power of His blood that covers sin.
When Jesus sent His disciples out to freely give what they had received, He did so based on the authority that His Father in heaven had given Him. If you are a believer, and have acknowledged Christ as Lord of your life, you have also been given authority in Jesus’ name. That authority is relevant to God’s plan for redemption and His heart of love toward His own creation. He has given us care, intervention, courage, deliverance and healing, forgiveness and mercy, and these are the things we now have in our hand to give in the name of Jesus.
When we give freely, we are giving without strings attached, without expectation of gratitude or reciprocation, without requirement. Peter said to the lame beggar in Acts 3:6, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
What keeps us from giving what we have? Well, possibly we don’t know what we have. Possibly we are afraid or convinced it won’t be received. What if we really believed God wanted to encourage, heal, cleanse, deliver and redeem? What if we hoped in His salvation? What if we loved the world around us without conditions that they think like us, behave like us, become like us? After all, Jesus was a friend of sinners, wasn’t He?
In order to know what you have to give, you have to know what you’ve been given. Spend some time this week remembering what He has done for you and in you. Then let His expression of love toward you be the motivation of your expression of His love to those He has given you: the ones who are in your path.
Until next week, live on the firm foundation of His love.