Love Like Jesus — Give Like Jesus: Luke 5:4-11

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:4-11


How Jesus Loved People

I love that story. Jesus was and is so generous. Jesus had the power to give — so He gave.

Jesus loved people by giving, materially.


How to Love Like Jesus

The last verse in our text says, “…they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” So we see Jesus didn’t give indiscriminately. He just finished speaking to a crowd of people, and almost certainly there were those in the crowd who were in need, but Jesus didn’t give to them. He only gave to those who would respond by leaving everything, and following Him.

Do you think I use Jesus’ approach? Do you suppose when I give of myself, materially, or my time, or my energy, I do it to encourage people to follow Jesus? So often the answer is no! How I have erred on this point. Too frequently I give so people will follow me.

I think many of us give out of a desire to attract people to ourselves. We think to ourselves, “If I help him move, he’ll think I’m a good guy.” Or, “If I pick up the check, he’ll think I’m generous.” Or, “If I make a great dessert, they’ll think I’m a great cook.” It’s human nature to think this way.

But think this through with me: Everything you and I have is God’s anyway, nothing is my own. My money, my time, my energy, my life, it’s all God’s. I’m just managing everything for Him. Doesn’t it make sense then, I should manage in a way that draws people closer to God and to His Son?

This conflict between giving to attract followers to ourselves vs. giving to attract followers to Jesus is relevant to anyone who blogs or tweets or speaks or writes for God’s kingdom. When we look at our number of followers or friends or subscribers or page views, are we looking out of an interest in drawing people closer to Christ? If you are, that’s a good thing. Jesus advocated numbering the 100 so the shepherd knew he was missing the 1. Tracking numbers out of concern for gathering sheep to Christ’s sheepfold is good. But we’re in error when we track numbers out of a desire to see how our followers have grown. Looking at his numbers to gratify himself was what David did when he numbered the men in his army. David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” (Matthew 18:12 vs. 2 Samuel Chapter 24)

Anytime you give anything, it’s important for you to ask yourself the question, “Am I doing this so people will follow me? Or am I doing it so people will follow Jesus Christ?”

I hear people say they want to be inspired by God’s Holy Spirit when they create their blog post, or their music, or their movie, or their book. I know I certainly want that. If you’re like me, and want the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, it’s important to remember the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ. (John 16:13-14)

So as much as possible when you show love by giving, love as Jesus loved by giving as Jesus gave. Focus on those who you think will respond by drawing closer to Christ.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit Jesus said,

He will not speak on his own… He will glorify me…

John 16:13-14

Genesis 8:10-22 — Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it

The Sacrifice of Noah c. 1640 by Sebastien Bourdon

He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

Genesis 8:10-22

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! (v.11) As we saw in the last post, the raven, a symbol of living life in the flesh, never returned with anything. (see previous post: He Sent Out a Dove) The dove, a symbol of living the spirit filled life that God desires for you, returned with an olive leaf, a symbol of peace. If you’re interested in having peace in your life, ask God for His holy spirit. Just ask. (see special post about living the spirit filled life)

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.” (v.15-16) Isn’t it interesting that we see in verse 13 that on the first day of the first month Noah saw that the earth was dry. Yet Noah remained in the ark until he heard God’s word on the twenty-seventh day of the second month. Noah was a man who lived his life in obedience to God’s word. He saw how listening to God’s words had saved him and his family so he waited. He waited to hear from his Lord. From the time he heard God’s instructions to build the ark until the time his feet hit the ground Noah heeded God. Today it’s the same for you and it’s the same for me. If you want to live, if you want to survive life’s floods, if you want your family to live, listen to God’s word.

We’re inundated with information today, primarily because of the internet. The internet is an amazing resource, a great and powerful tool. With it we can learn practical wisdom, we can find distraction in the form of entertainment, we can communicate with friends and family like never before. But all of that is no substitute for God’s word.

He’s waiting to speak with you. His scripture is there, available to you. Wisdom from the Faithful and True One. (Revelation 1:11) Wisdom from the Almighty Most High God. (Revelation 1:8, Hebrews 7:1)

He waits for you — in His Bible.

Even as Noah enjoyed life as a result of obeying God’s word, you too can enjoy life in such greater measure if you listen to God’s words.

Just open the book.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (v.20) This verse provides for us a wonderful lesson in giving. In my own flesh I would have said, “I have just seven sheep here, should I take the seventh and make a sacrifice? I have to populate the whole world from this diminished tiny herd. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until the animals have multiplied before sacrificing to You Lord?”

R.G. LeTourneau began life as a man of modest means. But when he started his business, a manufacturer of earth moving machines, he decided to tithe 90% of his profit and keep only 10% for himself. Incredibly, his business exploded to become the premiere giant earth moving equipment manufacturer in the world. He was the first to build giant equipment of this kind. I mean giant equipment, the type with tires twice as tall as a man. He became rich beyond what I can even comprehend. He himself said the money just came in faster than he could spend it. Speaking of his practice of giving 90% of his income he said, “I shovel it out and God shovels it back, but God has a bigger shovel.” Research his story, it’s amazing. Or read his biography, Mover of Men and Mountains.

In the words of Matthew Henry, “Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured.” Obviously Noah had a good grasp of this truth.

Now imagine with me that you’ve been cooped up in an ark with thousands of animals (and with all of the sanitation issues that that implies). You’ve been cooped up like this for more than a year! For 377 days! What’s the first thing you want to do when you get out? Celebrate? Throw a party? Play some frisbee football? Go for a long walk just because you finally can? Build a house for yourself? That’s what I’d want to do but that’s not what Noah did. Noah built an alter and sacrificed to his Lord. Noah gave thanks!

This is such a key in our walk with the Lord — recognizing that everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. (1 Timothy 4:4) Paul was talking about those on whom God’s wrath falls when he said in Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Thanksgiving is a pleasing aroma to our God. (Genesis 8:21) The flood didn’t eradicate the problem of sin as we see in verse 21 that still every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. But it was Noah’s sacrifice that prompted God to say, “…never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” (v.21) Our Lord’s sacrifice, Jesus’ sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice is what prompts God to show us mercy in spite of our sin today.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Jon Courson

Ray Stedman

Matthew Henry

North Shore News

Helping the Poor

Just returned from church, Applegate Christian Fellowship, http://www.applegatefellowship.org/ , where I heard a most profound teaching from Matthew 25. The most intriguing part of Pastor Jon Courson’s, http://joncourson.com/ , teaching came when he reached the section of scripture that addresses the sheep and the goats. Jesus said,

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Matthew 25:31-45

Many interpret this passage to mean that we should give to the indigent. However, pastor Jon believes that the idea here is that we should give to each other. Not that we should ignore giving to the indigent. In Mike Yankoski’s excellent book, Under the Overpass, http://www.undertheoverpass.com/uop/home.php , Mike and a friend spend five months on the street, homeless, in six U.S. cities. By the end of his adventure Yankoski is filled with compassion for the people on the street, however, even he says that we should use great discretion in our giving, avoiding cash, and offering food. And where is the emphasis in Jesus’ teachings? Did He not say, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34 and “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” and “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12 and “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” John 15:17

Leadership Take-away: Lead with love. Upon examination of Jesus’ commandment it seems pretty clear what we are to do. In these difficult economic times some of us are really hurting, and some of us still have some ability to help. No Christian should go without during this trying economic season. If you can help, love your brother by giving what you can. And show some initiative, ask your church leadership who is hurting. Most people in your church family aren’t going to approach you with their hand out. Help them find work if you can, offer to pay a bill, or invite their family over for a meal.

Yes we should, according to the leading of the Holy Spirit and with discernment, help those in need on the street, but let’s heed the commandment of Jesus first, “…love one another.” John 15:17