Question: Please explain Luke 6:30, where it says, “Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again.” I am thinking of times when people stand on the sidewalks, begging for me to give something for their cause. I’m also thinking of times when I would like for loaned items to be returned.
Answer: This text must be interpreted and understood in its proper context, just as any other scripture, in order to be understood at all. We could never think of Jesus just arbitrarily tossing out an unqualified commandment for His followers to give to everyone who asked them to. My! What a position this would put us in! People on the streets often ask us for money just plain derelicts who want the money to buy themselves another drink or another shot of dope. We would actually be doing wrong to aid them in their sinful practices. God’s Word actually forbids us to be a partaker of other men’s sins in any sense. (I Timothy 5:22b; II John 11.) Jesus could not have meant that, and we should not interpret this text that literally. Any time we take a text out of its proper setting and isolate it, we can get ourselves in a really awkward position.
The thought here begins in verse 27, and continues through verse 36. The basic thought of the entire passage is for us to have a right attitude in our hearts toward all men. Verses 27-28 say, “…Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” Then verse 29 says, “And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.” Then comes this verse contained in the question: “Give to every man that asketh thee;…” This is part of it, too.
I do not think of this statement as applying generally or promiscuously. Instead it sets forth how we are to react to wrong treatment by our fellow men. If a person who is my avowed enemy, or one who hates me or curses me, or despitefully uses me, or smites me in the face, or imposes on me and heaps injustice on me, and takes away my goods, etc.; if that person gets in need or distress and asks me for help, I am required here to give him help. I am not permitted to reserve my charities and benevolences for my friends only, but I am to bestow them on people like those described here.
The holy Scriptures teach further on our attitude toward our enemies in Romans 12:19-21. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” This is the general teaching of Luke 6:27-36. Good parents do not leave it up to any of their children to whip another child if he gets out of order. That is Daddy or Mother’s job. That policy keeps things running orderly in the family and a proper respect on the part of all the children for parental authority. God does not leave it up to us to chastise one another, either. It is His job to straighten us and others out and He does not permit us to withhold our charities and benevolences from anyone in need, even though it may be an avowed enemy or someone who has grossly mistreated us. We are not to be overcome by the evil they do us, and get a bad, wrong attitude toward them, and return the evil upon them. We are rather to overcome the evil with good, and if those very people need help and ask us for it, we are to give it to them, and if they desire a favor, we are to grant the favor without grudging or rancor. In Proverbs 25:22b, it says, ” The Lord shall reward thee.” The Lord will surely bless and reward His children who behave properly under these kinds of provocations.
Also included in the question is the latter part of this verse in Luke 6:30, where it says, “…And of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.” The questioner says that he is thinking of times when he would like to have loaned articles returned. The statement in the Bible does not pertain to loaned articles. This refers to one who just comes and gets some of your goods and takes them away for whatever cause. Maybe he just steals some of your goods, or whatever. In such a case, you will be better off to just commit yourself to God and not enter into strife with him. There are times when you will be happier and more blessed of the Lord to just take “joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” (Hebrews 10:34.)
There is nothing here that prevents a saint from asking for the return of a loaned item. The part of Luke 6:35 which says, “…Lend, hoping for nothing again;…” does not mean that, either that you have no right to expect or even ask for the return of items. This verse says, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again;…” The thought here is that we do good to our enemies or anybody else and grant them favors without any thought of having those favors returned to us at some time on down the line. We should never have a thought of obligating another person to us because of a favor we do him. Just do him the favor because he needs and desires it and let it be gone, never to be remembered again in a way to obligate the person or expect anything from him because of it. We do have a perfect right to expect things we loan to a person to be returned and none of these scriptures shut us off from that.
This entire passage (Luke 6:27-36), deals with the same thought: our attitudes toward other people and especially our enemies. I have already dealt with verses 27-29. Now I will refer to verses 32-34, to confirm what I just said. “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners do also even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.” It is clear that God wants His people to be different from other folks in this area of their lives. Then it is all concluded in verse 36: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Our heavenly father “…maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45.) We are to be like that, also, toward all men.