Proverbs 25:21-22 21 “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
What a challenging way to live. Could not he have said, “If your best friend is hungry, give him food to eat?” But my enemy!?! That would be an exercise of all God’s might in my life!! This verse is more easily read than done. To live out this truth I must first make a paradigm shift. My flesh tends to read Scripture according to probability and how it affects me. What if my renter cannot pay the rent because they missed two weeks of work from illness? Would my first thought be to forgive the rent or to charge the required penalty and remind them of the eviction clause. God wants me to read Scripture according to His desires and my faith in Him. Human nature tends to respond according to our needs and not the needs of others as Philippians 2:4 says: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
These responses might more likely happen if we first sought God’s will by seeking, hearing, and trusting Him. Psalm 84:10 describes this mindset: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” Budgets are too tight, life is too demanding, the hurt is too deep and unmerited, personal pleasures are desired more than trusting God for one day much less a 1,000. God calls us to sacrifice for others when necessary. I recently made a request to thirty Christians to help a struggling single mom with two kids – one who had cerebral palsy. After four detailed requests with updates and requests for financial and informational help only four people responded. These Christians were not strangers, but people I had poured my life into. I give this example as a representation of how Christians often process needs. Contrast God’s ways in Matthew 5:39-42 with man’s ways:
- “I have helped him before with no gratitude” while Jesus said, “If anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well.” (40)
- “I have no room in my budget. I can barely keep up now with my AT&T, Cox Internet, Verizon, Direct TV, new car payment, club membership, and athletic club payments,” while Jesus said: “Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.” (42)
- “You do not understand what he did to me,” while Jesus said, “whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (39)
- “How can I help someone else when I am so busy?” Jesus said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.” (41)
Life is busy, obligations are real, people can be bad, but this is not the lens God asks you to live life through. God calls you first to believe in Him, second to trust Him, and third to respond to Him. How did the thirty respond to the request? Did they pray, listen, look for ways to help or sacrifice or did they merely delete and ignore? I do not know, but I do know that God acts in the lives of those who step out on faith. Colossians 1:10 reflects a life lived this way, “That you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work.” We are called first to be living representations of Jesus. We are called to put others before ourselves. We are called to sacrifice. We cannot allow the meat grinder of life to be our garbage disposal for God’s work and life in us. We must passionately follow and seek Jesus’s direction if we are to experience Him.
2 Corinthians 4:5 “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.”
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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience in this area: “God’s Purpose For You” and “Knowing God’s Will.”