One of God’s qualities is generosity, which Jesus calls his hearers to practice in his Sermon on the Plain: “I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (vv. 27–28). Jesus points out that “even sinners” love those who love them, do good to those who do good to them, and lend intending to receive in return (vv. 32–34).
These actions, done in self-interest, are not exceptional. However, Jesus’ followers must reflect God’s generosity in their dealings with others; they must do to others what they would want done to them (v. 31), even if others do not return in kind. They are to love even their enemies, doing good to all, lending without expecting anything in return (v. 35). In sum: Jesus’ disciples are to “be merciful, even as [their] Father is merciful” (v. 36).
Theology for Life—Ironically, when Christians refuse to act out of self-interest and instead honor their Father by putting others first, their “reward will be great” (v. 35).