December 22, 2021
Scripture: When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, bearing two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of summer fruits, and a skin of wine. And the king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who faint in the wilderness to drink.” 2 Samuel 16:1-2 ESV
Observation: Early in his reign, David inquired of Ziba (Saul’s former servant) if there was anyone in the house of Saul toward which he could show kindness. Ziba informed him of Jonathan’s invalid son, Mephibosheth. David then instructed Ziba and his sons to farm the land of Saul’s estate and provide for every need of Mephibosheth from that day forward. Now, in these latter days, when David was on the run from Absalom, Ziba showed kindness and generosity toward David and his men. In contrast, when David inquired of Ziba’s master’s whereabouts, Ziba told him that Mephibosheth had stayed in Jerusalem, anticipating that he would regain his grandfather’s seat of power (verse 3). With this violation of loyalty that demonstrated a lack of gratitude, David then bequeathed all Mephibosheth’s possessions to Ziba (verse 4).
Takeaway: What goes around comes around. However, like David and Ziba, when we extend charity and kindness toward others, we should not do so in anticipation of payback. Indeed, Jesus touched on this point when he commanded his disciples to give without expecting pay (Matthew 10:8). But Jesus also affirmed this law of reciprocity:
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37-38 ESV
In particular, Jesus emphasizes that we cannot out-give God. Our gracious Father will pour out his blessings on us beyond our expectations. Material blessings? Possibly, but he will undoubtedly exceed all our needs with gifts that prepare us for eternity. And the most extravagant one is the life of his Son, who has brought us forgiveness as we forgive others.
Prayer: Father God, you are generous, gracious, and loving beyond all earthly measure. We thank you for the extravagant gift of your Son, who has reconciled us to you. Would you please help us follow the lead of your Holy Spirit and generously give to those in need, trusting in your provisions that will exceed our gifts of time and resources? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling