Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”Thomas Merton
Jesus sent his disciples into the world with a simple set of instructions: take that which I’ve given you and go to share it with others. It was that simple. Not that raising the dead could ever be called simple! But the instructions the disciples received sure were: “I blessed you. Now you go out and bless the world.”
Through the years, we’ve often taken these instructions and attached a lot of caveats and asterisks to them. We want to be sure our “investments” in people pay off. That’s a very human thing to do. It’s incredibly frustrating when it feels like the time and money we spend on people isn’t making a difference. Often it feels wise, and even necessary, to place limits on how and when we help, lest we waste our efforts on those who “can’t be helped.”
But that’s not the message of Jesus. Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk whose writings have influenced generations in their thoughts on the spiritual life, social justice, and pacifism. His quote above calls us back to the Spirit of Christ that we encounter in Matthew 10:8: “Freely you have received; freely give.” Our job is to love and serve. Period. Not to make judgments about who is worthy to receive it.
So, as you go through today:
Have you been forgiven? Forgive.
Were you blessed by the generosity of a stranger? Go bless someone.
Did someone lighten your day with a joke? Help someone to laugh.
Have you been loved? Don’t be afraid to share that love with others.
You have one job and one simple set of instructions: go give away what you’ve received.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
What do you think would happen if we were able to truly practice Jesus words – or Merton’s – and help everyone regardless of whether they were worthy?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we know that your instructions are simple. And yet we struggle to be able to practice our faith according to your Spirit and your Word. With our finite time and resources, we chase after the sure wins. Remind us that perhaps we need to risk more. Remind us that those we write off as unworthy you went to the cross in order to save. So help us to give freely today. Amen.