Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Giving while Expecting to Receive in Return is Covetousness in and of itself

 Then He also said to him who invited Him, When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.  And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:12-14).

The Bible has much to say about giving. It commands us to give generously.  Jesus spoke on giving very often. In Luke 14:12-13, He teaches people to not seek a return for what they give: Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 

In Luke 6:32-36, He says:

“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.


In both passages, Jesus is teaching people not to seek a return for what they give. This is because expecting in return what one has lent or given is itself a manifestation of unrighteousness. This teaching does not only apply to the follower of Christ,  as it concerns the heart. Luke 14:7 makes this clear as Jesus was speaking to those who invited Him to dinner. In Luke 6:32-36, Jesus was speaking to disciples. However, that that the teaching of not expecting in return what one gives was the same as that in Luke 14:12-13 was given to the unsaved indicates that it does not only apply to the disciples of Christ, but to all people. 

Jesus does have expectations of the world in that He commands it to repent and turn to Him (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15). However, at the same time, He does not expect it to repent, knowing the unrighteousness and vile wickedness of the world  (Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:19). Likewise, He expects the unsaved to repent of its covetousness as manifested in giving while expecting a return, which leads to unforgiveness and mercilessness, but knows that it cannot, but by the grace of God. 

The flesh can very easily refrain from doing certain evil acts, in the way of rule-keeping, and do good to those who love oneself, and love those who love oneself as Luke 6:32-33 makes clear:

But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

The rhetorical question which asks "And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back" (Luke 6:34) follows immediately from these two questions in Luke 6:32-33. It is to say likewise, that if a person lends and expect to receive back as much, that it does in no way demonstrate one's righteousness, at all, whatsoever.  This is because even the sinner can do that, for it is all too natural for the selfish desires of the flesh to be content with receiving in return what one has lent.  It does not demonstrate one's righteousness at all. Rather, it just shows how evil the human heart is, in doing good to only those who do good to oneself, loving only those who love oneself and expecting as much in return what one has lent. It not only shows how calculative the heart is. It is to say that the heart is does not  only produce covetousness, it is covetous itself. 

The human heart thinks that it should love only those who love oneself because it need not love, but only when it wants to. Such love is selfish, false love and not agape love at all.  It thinks that it "deserves" to be loved by others, and so expects to be loved on its terms, out of its own selfishness. This is why it is foolish to to simply tell a sinner that "God loves you" for he will simply think, "of course, He should!", without even entertaining the possibility that God need not love him and has every right to hate him and burn him in Hell. The human heart thinks that it should do good only to those who do good to oneself because it thinks it "deserves" good from others, and so expects good to be done to it, out of its own selfishness and wanting good to be done to it.  This utterly vile, abominable, disgusting, evil, wicked Hell-deserving selfishness produces the fruit of covetousness which thinks that it is entitled to what it wants out of its own selfishness. 

This covetousness is manifested in lending to others and expecting as much in return. It is of a heart which thinks that it should only lend or give to others only when it can receive in return what was lent or given. It proudly questions why it should give, suppressing the truth that it knows that it deserves nothing at all, but that what it claims to be entitled to is just vile selfish desire. It proudly questions why it should give because it thinks itself entitled to all that it has been given, simply expecting it to be given to oneself out of one's own selfishness. 

Such covetousness is indeed precisely the a manifestation spirit behind usury. Usury is not merely unjust or extortionate. It is utterly vile, abominable, evil and disgusting covetousness and envy. Usury is an abomination (Ezekiel 18:13). Anyone who charges usury does so out of this covetousness, proudly and arrogantly asking why it should give to others, thinking that is entitled to what it wants, and hating those who have what it wants.