And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. -Luke 6:34 (NIV)
My mother harbor decades of resentment and indignation in her heart, and I’ve heard her voice it over the years. Since the 1980s, she took the initiative to sponsor and pay for housing for several of our relatives (both her and my father’s side). While our family struggled, the families she sacrificed to get to the United States thrived. But, she often would talk about how they did not give back to help the family that helped them have a new life of prosperity here in the States.
Even during and after my father’s funeral, my mother vented to me about how her brother-in-law (my father’s brother) and his family didn’t give a single penny to help with funeral costs. She fumed over how she–not my father–took the pains to sponsor them over to the United States, and this is how they repay her. (We actually received quite a helpful sum from friends, other family, and coworkers!)
If you give with expectation of repayment, or give with conditions regarding how the gift is spent or used, what kind of gift have you really given?
The gift that Jesus gave us on the cross is one we can never repay or equal. It is freely given, and is our choice to take it. It is not one that is conditional on us living a sinless life. It is one given sacrificially out of love, for our salvation and to God’s glory.
I knew that with the passing of my father so fresh in our minds and hearts, this wasn’t the time to talk about letting go of any expectations of repayment. I pray that through the grace walk of believers in her life (and besides me, there are very few!), she may see a glimpse of an eternal gift of far greater value than any we can give or receive here–and how it was freely given out of love.