Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Give and It Will Be Given

Luke 6:38    Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

I often hear this verse being used to motivate people to be generous givers.  People use this verse to give to others expecting that God will abundantly replace what they have given.  If we give someone on the street in need our last $20 bill, we are not guaranteed to find $40 elsewhere.  I am not going to say that God will never do that for us.  But God does not promise that he will do so, and we should never expect it.   Second Corinthians 9:7 tells us that God loves a cheerful giver, not an expectant giver.  

2 Corinthians 9:6-11  Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,for God loves a cheerful giver.  8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”
 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

On the surface of this passage it seems like the same thing, if you give generously, you will receive generously.  But if you take a closer look, in verse 10, you will see that the reward for our generosity will be the harvest of our righteousness.  And in verses 8 and 11, we can see that our blessing comes before our giving.  We are expected to give out of what we already have, not give expecting to be reimbursed by God.  He blesses us beforehand so that we can do His good works.

Okay, now back to Luke 6:38.  Here is verse 37: 
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." 
 And here are the verses following (39-42):  He also told them this parable : “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?  The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

What Jesus is saying in Luke 6:38 is that the mercy you extend to others is the measure that will be extended to you.  If you read the verse alone, it sounds real positive, "I will receive what I give."  Nice, huh?  But if you look at the context around it, it could be positive or negative.  If you are merciful and forgive others, a generous portion will overflow and run into your lap.  But on the flip side, if you are judgmental and withhold mercy and forgiveness, you can expect a generous portion of judgment to overflow and run into your lap.  And even with that being said, shouldn't we forgive others because we have been forgiven?  Not forgive expecting to be forgiven in return.  God offers us forgiveness every day, no matter how badly we mess up, no matter how badly we hurt Him, or how offensive our sin is to Him.  God is generous with His grace, therefore we ought to be generous to others with our grace.