“And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”
– Matthew 5:40
Yesterday we talked about what it meant in the time of Jesus to turn the other cheek and what that teaches us about how to stand against insults without retaliating. Today, we’re going to look at the second example the Lord gives us in the Sermon on the Mount, this one dealing with how we handle those who take everything from us.
I hate to say it, but In Jesus’ time, men didn’t really have underwear; instead, they wore two basic pieces of clothing — a tunic and a cloak. The tunic was the undergarment — think of it like a man mumu, kind of a big, white sheet that went around their bodies to keep their outer garments from getting soiled. Then they had their cloaks that went over their tunics, and this was what they wore on the outside, kind of like a coat. So what would happen is that sometimes, if a person had been sued for everything he had, the judge would order that guy to hand over his underwear, which was meant to be an act of total humiliation. What a surprise it must have been to His followers, then, when Jesus turned this scenario on its head by instructing them to not worry about the burden of unjust treatment — just give them everything! Rather than fearing the public humiliation of nakedness, the Lord told them to put the shame back on the one who caused it by taking it all off and walking away! Wow!
Friend, when you live in the sufficiency of the Kingdom of God, you have nothing to fear — even nakedness can’t separate you from His love and compassion. If unjust treatment has cost you everything, allow Jesus to take care of you and watch as your enemies stand in awe. As my grandpa always said, “When you are down to nothing, God is up to something!” Receive that today and believe that even if you are stripped and barren, your Heavenly Father has you in the palm of His Hand; when you trust Him with your lack, He will replace it with more than enough! Isn’t that amazing news?
Jesus, help me to embrace barrenness with resolute faith, knowing that even if I lose it all, you are everything that I need.
Have you ever been stripped down to nothing? How did God provide for you?