GIVE THE BEST GIFT
BY: SUNNY ORLY COFFMAN
AUGUST 11, 2003
Matthew 5:40 “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”
Perhaps this short story has a far deeper meaning than we see at first glance. Could it imply that we’re not to give to another something that is easy to put off [discard] – like taking off a coat? When a man asks for something we have in our possession, what is our first thought?
Is our first thought to give him the very best we have of whatever he needs, or is it to give him what is convenient [as easy as taking our coat off and handing it over] – what is less costly [keeping the finest for ourselves] – what has no emotional [sentimental] attachment for us [perhaps a gift someone else has given us and we really didn’t like it anyway].
Or is our first consideration to give the inner cloak, something nearer and more dear to our heart – the best gift – the most expensive – my favorite – my cherished – something that isn’t convenient, but requires effort to locate or make available.
I’m reminded of another short scripture story that tells of a man who was willing to do what even the religious leaders of his area were not willing to do – dirty his hands to pull a man out of a filthy gutter and provide him with shelter and food and pay all the expenses for his immediate necessities. Others walked on the opposite side of the road so as not to be even tempted to help this poor fellow – even though they preached Isa. 58 loudly and often, i.e., feed the hungry, clothe the naked, bring the homeless into your home to lodge with you.
This man gave too much time concerning himself with the needs of the unfortunate man to be distracted even for a moment about any other man’s opinion of his actions.
Today, we call this man that helped the unfortunate man in the ditch “A Good Samaritan.” But there are many today that, given the same opportunity to title the man, would call him a “fool”, “stupid”, “cruisin’ for a let-down.” “asking for trouble”. “more money than brains.” But what does God say about all of this.
First of all, God’s not looking at the exterior of a man [the coat]. He’s concerned with the heart of that fellow [the cloak]. He’s concerned with the one that is not holding onto material things of this world – secretly hoping they can figure out one of the greatest mysteries of this life: how you can take all of your “things” with you when you depart.
He’s looking for the man that knows nothing belongs to him and he sure can’t take it with him when he leaves life as we know it. Everything he has is “on the altar – ready to be sacrificed – available to be freely given should his Master speak the word.” He has found the secret joy of giving and is looking for no reward beyond the good feeling he has every time he is told to release something into another’s hands.
I know of a relationship in my circle of acquaintances where neither party in the relationship has learned the unending joy available in learning to give freely. Each of these folks is trying to create his own kingdom instead of working as a team to create a kingdom between them where God can dwell. I think of the woman in this relationship often and think, “How is she ever going to be a part of the Bride of Christ if she can’t even respect this man, a man she says God brought to her.”
And I’ve often wondered how this man could ever consider himself called to be a minister – someone responsible for the spiritual growth of others, if he can’t even guide his own household into the arms of Jesus – fully trusting Him to release the other party from the bondage they find themselves living in day-to-day. My heart cries out to the Father in their behalf. Instead of the shark existence they presently experience [back biting, name calling, accusing, bickering] their lives could be such peace and joy everyday, should they choose to lay down their grievances, make a truce, and seek God together and ask Him to give them the love for each other that God has for each of them. I’ve seen other couples pray that way and watched God pour out loving kindness in their hearts and literally watched as God continued dealing with each individual and gave them a love and a respect for each other neither had ever dreamed possible. To see the preference and honor for each other come to the foreground was the most exciting thing I’ve seen in a long time.
GIVE THE BEST GIFT [Sunny Orly Coffman] 8-11-03 1