“He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”
Luke 3:11 (KJV)
How are you? Not long ago, I wrote another post on sharing. You can read it here. That post was focused on how we sometimes tend to confuse “needs” and “wants”. Today’s post is about sharing, but with the focus on sharing from our excess.
In Luke 3:11 (KJV), it says, “He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; an the that hath meat, let him do likewise.” Here, John the Baptist is answering a question people have asked about what they must do. As we can see, the message is that we should give from our excess to those who don’t have all the necessities in life.
I believe the word “meat” doesn’t just refer to meat, but to all food and drink. John is talking about food that is a necessity. We need food and drink in order to live. It may be the same with “coats”. John may not be just talking about coats, but all necessary clothing. Clothing is a necessity as well.
Luke 3:11 reminds me of Matthew 19:21 (KJV) which says, “Jesus said unto him, If those wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Jesus’ answer maybe a little more drastic, but the message to be compassionate and giving to the poor is still the same.
One might ask, “Why doesn’t John tell people the same as Jesus did?” I believe there a couple of reasons. The first is that Jesus hadn’t yet started His ministry in the times of when John was speaking in Luke 3:11. I believe the second reason is that God likes to tell us things in baby steps as to not overwhelm us and so we can understand. People who came to John might not have been ready to hear that they must sell everything. God may have thought that they were only ready to hear that they must share from their excess.
I don’t know about you, but Luke 3:11 inspires me to think about what I have and what I give or don’t give. It gets me to thinking about how many of us have more coats and more clothes than they could possibly need and others don’t have all the necessities in life. Another thing I think about is that there is no mention of being asked by the poor for anything, only mention of giving to the poor. We are called to lovingly, graciously, and compassionately give to the poor out of excess in daily living necessities. We are called to take the initiative to ensure the poor at least have the necessities in life. What do you think about in reading Luke 3:11?
Do you think about how many pieces of clothing you have and how many people could use even one? Do you think of how much food you have and how much gets wasted while others struggle to fine any? Does your heart go out to those who struggle to just get the necessities in life? Do you even think about what that might feel like?
I pray that you are blessed by Luke 3:11 to reflect on what you have or need and what you can do to help those less fortunate. I pray we all take that time to not only reflect, but to do something about it, to compassionately and joyously give.
Thank you for your Holy Word. Thank you for caring for all your children, those who have as well as those who have not. Thank you for teaching us to give and share with others. Help us to be, not only obedient to your Holy Word, and give to others, but to give well with a loving and compassionate heart. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Luke 3:11 (KJV):
*What does Luke 3:11 mean to me?
*Does Luke 3:11 inspire me to reflect on what I have and what I share?
*Do I have more food or clothing than I need?
*Do I have more possessions and money than I need?
*Do I share with the poor and those in need?
Now, it is your turn.
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“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
1 John 3:17 (KJV)
How are you? I am touched by the words in 1 John 3:17. What about you? If we all thought about these words and prayed about these words, and acted upon these words, the world would be a better place.
As Christians, we try to do what is right. We may go to church, worship God and speak His name. We may pray not only for ourselves, but for others as well. Yet, is that all we are called to do?
We are asked a very good question in 1 John 3:17 (KJV), “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” With the “old time” words and way of saying things, this verse, like many others in the Bible, may be difficult to understand. However, it is basically saying, “If we are rich or have more than we need and see someone in need, but don’t share, how can we say that we have God’s love in us?” Or, we can also change that to, “How can we say we are Christians, followers of Jesus, and believers, if we don’t share out of our extra wealth with those in need?”
Let’s think about that question a minute. Pray about it. If we are truly following Jesus, how can we not share what we have with others? Jesus was always having compassion on others, healing them, encouraging them, and giving the good news to them. Shouldn’t we do the same, if we are able? Isn’t that what “following” means? Is that what it means to be Christian?
I think part of our issue in not heeding the words in 1 John 3:17 is that we interchange the words “need” and “want” too much in our society. We talk about “needing” things that we really “want”. We might say something like, “I need to get some chips for the picnic.” Well, that isn’t quite the truth. The truth is that we “want” to get some chips for the picnic. We might say, “I need a new car.” Well, that isn’t quite the truth either. Even if we feel we need a vehicle, the truth is closer to, “I need something to get me to and from work or the grocery store. But, I really want it to be a new car.” Our society says “need” too often when “want” is really the meaning.
With our nonchalant use of the word “need”, how can we really tell when someone needs something or not? More to the point, how can we tell if we have more than we need, if we always say we need something when we don’t? I think this badly, overused, misrepresented use of the word “need” has made us numb to the real needs of the world; of ours and of others.
I think if we learn to use the word “want” when we really mean “want” and use “need” when we really mean “need”, God will be more likely to open our hearts to have the compassion we should for others. Even if we have never had a real “need”, we may start to understand that there are people who do and our compassion will tug at us until we do something about it.
It is then that we can realize that we have a closet bulging with more clothes than we actually where, when there are others who barely have clothes on their backs and don’t even have a closet. Maybe then, we will share.
In preparing for this post and reading 1 John 3:17, it tugged at my heart some. I hope that God continues the tug at my heart. I pray that He continues to convict me with this verse, until I am moved to a depth so deep that His loves comes pouring through me. I pray the same for you as well, if you aren’t there already.
Thank you for sending your only Son, Jesus, to be our Savior and our ultimate role model. Oh, Lord, help us to know the difference between “needs” and “wants”. Touch our hearts, so they are opened to the needs of others and your compassion can flow through us. Help us to have compassion on those in need, not only in word and prayer, but also in action. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for 1 John 3:17 (KJV):
*What does 1 John 3:17 mean to me?
*Do I use the word “need” when I really mean “want”?
*Do I think that the needs and wants confusion numbs us?
*What message is God giving me through this verse?
*What can I do to better heed the words in 1 John 3:17?
*Do I have any excess that I can give to those in need?
Now, it is your turn.
What are your thoughts? Do you use "need" when you mean "want"? Why don't you think we give as much as we can to those in need? How do you think we call ourselves Christians and don't give to those in need? (I know some do give.) I would like to hear from you. Please, comment below to give us all something about which to think and pray. Thank you.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.