. . . do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:42b
Here's a quick quiz: Is the passage "Thou shalt neither a borrower nor a lender be" found in the Old or the New Testament? Give yourself an extra point if you can name the book where that passage is found.
Sorry. That was unfair.
It was unfair because the passage isn't in the Bible at all. On the other hand, it does point to the text of today's devotion where Jesus comments on the matter of giving and borrowing: "Give to the one who begs from you and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you."
I wonder how those words apply to Thomas Pilaar of Denver, Colorado. You see Thomas has a habit of going to libraries and checking out books, hundreds of books and DVDs. Unfortunately, Thomas has not developed the habit of returning the things he has borrowed.
The Denver Public Library estimates Thomas owes them about $35,000. The Douglas Library fared better with Thomas racking up a mere $11,000 in overdue books and DVDs.
Under normal circumstances, Thomas might have returned these items and thrown himself on the mercy of the court. That action was made impossible because Thomas, having borrowed these items from these libraries, promptly went out and sold them.
I guess this turns his borrowing into thieving.
Still, I wonder what God would expect me to do if Thomas showed up and asked me to lend him some of my rare books. Would Jesus expect me to loan those books to Thomas? Would He want me to offer all of them? With no strings attached? Without any kind of security?
And, as long as I'm wondering, I wonder if the Lord ever feels we do the same kind of thing to Him? We are sinners - - sinners who have no way of redeeming ourselves and who seldom repay our debts. As sinners we come to Him begging for forgiveness.
And this forgiveness, because of Jesus' sacrifice and intercession, is given over and over again as we commit the same or similar sins. We are beggars, pitiful thieves; we should be turned away or tossed out entirely.
But God doesn't turn us away; He doesn't throw us out. Because we are redeemed members of His household, He keeps forgiving, and loving, and doing for us what we would not do for someone else.
This is why it's good He's God and we're not.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, for Your patience, Your grace, and above all, for giving Your Son as my Savior, I sing Your praises. Send Your Holy Spirit so this day I may, in the things I do, avoid sin and show my thanks. In Jesus' Name, I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries