Give…expecting nothing in return

One of the sayings of Jesus that I find most inspiring and challenging is in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 6, where Jesus says:

“If you love those who love you, what benefit 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 benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

(Luke 6:32-35 ESV)

Most of us do things for others with at least some expectation that we will receive something in return. If we are nice to others, we expect that they will be nice to us in return. If they are not, we tend to get upset about it.

Many of us give with the expectation, that at least the recipient will be appreciative of our generosity.

Many of us love, with the expectation that our love will be reciprocated – and if it is not, then we tend to “clam up”, because to love is to make oneself vulnerable, and unreciprocated love leaves us more vulnerable than reciprocated love.

But here is Jesus challenging us toward something that does not come naturally: to GIVE, expecting nothing in return.


Why? Because that is how God loves.  And if you do that, then you will understand the heart of the Father in a profound way, and you will be like Him. Because He gives to the ungrateful and the evil – He blesses people who don’t deserve it and don’t even appreciate it.  

If He gets nothing out of it, then why does He do it?   Because that is what divine love does: it gives, not as a means of coercion, but simply gives out of pure love.

I want to be that kind of person, to my wife, to my kids, to those around me – even to my “enemies”. This is the vision; only by the grace of God can I carry it out.


David and Jonathan: Man Love

Tomorrow at White Fields I will be teaching 1 Samuel 18 – which begins with David and Jonathan’s friendship. The text says that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul (18:1).

This epic friendship between Jonathan and David includes Jonathan giving up his right to the throne in order to allow David to take the place given to him by God. Later on Jonathan helps protect David from Jonathan’s father, King Saul, who is determined to kill David.

After Jonathan’s death at the end of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel begins with David’s mourning over the loss of his friend, which includes this statement: “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” (2 Samuel 1:26).

This statement of David’s has led some to believe that David and Jonathan were more than just friends, that they were actually lovers.

The word “love” in the Greek Septuagint is the word “agape” – as opposed to “eros” (erotic, sensual love) – so it is quite clear that David is not talking about “making love” with Jonathan, but about a deep bond between these two men which was deeper, richer and more profound than any romantic relationship.

And therein is an important point that is being made in the text here: that the deepest bonds between people are not based on physical intimacy, but on sharing the same heart and desires and by being in the trenches together through hard times and good – such an important principle to keep in mind in regard to marriage as well. Marriage can’t only be built on a physical romantic relationship – it has to be built on a spiritual bond and a friendship as well. This is part of the reason why the Bible tells Christians not to be unequally yoked: because the spiritual bond, the same heart for God is an important building block for a solid marriage relationship.