THE WEEK OF TRINITY IV – FRIDAY

LESSON: MATTHEW 6:1-4

“Do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.” Luke 6:35

In these words, Jesus outlines a basic Christian principle which involves our earthly property and its use in relieving the needs of our neighbor and helping him. Our earthly property should always be at the disposal of our neighbor. We should lend to our neighbor and give to him where and when he wills it.

These are real commandments and not merely counsels, as has sometimes been suggested. Jesus does not mean here, “He who wants to attain perfection must follow this course.” In an effort to observe this counsel of perfection, men withdrew from the world into monasteries, seeking this perfection. For this reason alone, all monasteries are a devil’s delusion. For no people are greedier and less inclined to break off their wrong practices than those in monasteries.

If one wants to be a Christian, one should be prepared, as Jesus says, to lend “expecting nothing in return.” If we are confronted with a case of need, where there is no possibility of repayment, we should make a free gift and remit all indebtedness, as Nehemiah did (Nehemiah 5:9-12).

God gave you your property, and He can certainly give you more if you continue to trust him. If you are wrongfully deprived of something, do not demand it again for yourself. Let your neighbor step forth on your behalf and help you, so that you do not have to suffer excessively. Your neighbor should help you and protect you against wrong and violence. If you want to be Christians, you must lend and give and even suffer the deprivation of your goods, or your faith will be lacking.

SL 11:1279 (20-21)

PRAYER: You have given us everything, O God. Train us in your ways so that we, too, may learn to give everything for the welfare of our neighbor, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 4:97-110.