If You Give a Man A Blanket…

If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?…Lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great.

Luke 6:34-35 (NIV)

For the past several years during winter months, our church has hosted a homeless ministry referred to as “the warming station”. (COVID being the exception this year). Over the course of six hours, these special guests are blessed with a hot meal, prayer and conversation, cots on which to sleep and movies for entertainment.

Last year, a man at our warming station approached me, face weathered by time and hardship, and boldly asked,

“Ma’am, do you have any blankets? It’s really cold outside.”

Dreadfully cold.

I hesitated. One, because there were no more blankets to loan, and, two, because the plaid blanket in pretty shades of purple and aqua I’ve kept in my car for many years came to mind.

Yes, that one blanket I favor and have used. A lot.

Because one never knows when one might find herself cold and in need of a blanket. And when Mary is cold and miserable so is everyone in her midst.

Fixing his stare, eyes pleading, dark and hollow, the man urged,

“I’ll give it back.”

Drat. He’d read my thoughts. Must have sensed the wrestling with my inner Linus Van Pelt.

With effort, I mentally released ownership of the blanket, dashed to the car to retrieve it. The instant I handed it over, I knew the teeny tiny act of kindness was an obedient decision.

And I knew I’d never see that blanket again.

Will I, Lord?

Lend without expecting to get anything back. Luke 6:35

Like Jesus.

When God sent his baby son Jesus to earth, it was a selfless, sacrificial act. Even though his gift isn’t consistently and faithfully reciprocated by his children in loving obedience, (If you love me you will obey my commandments. John 14:15) he remains kind and merciful to the ungrateful and wicked.

Within reason—and when prompted by the Holy Spirit—he calls us to be generous and lend to sinners. That doesn’t come with assurance we’ll get back what we loaned or the sacrifice of time, talent or treasure won’t sting a little…or a heck of a lot.

But for the generous lender, the willingness to give without expecting to get anything back produces abundant blessings from God whose riches are immeasurable, both here and in eternity.

What need have I in heaven of a blanket in an environment that’ll deliver perfect warmth, illuminated by the radiant glory of God?

The maker of blankets.

When we freely give a man a blanket, we receive far more than we have room in our hearts to take in.

’Tis the season for giving. What are you willing to lend that might not make it back to you?

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