“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
One of my favorite treats, before diabetes (and probably why I have diabetes), is a Coke Slurpee. In fact, April has standing orders that if I go the death bed route, the last thing to pass my lips will be coke flavored, fine-grained ice brimming over the hole of those specially made, dome-shaped lids riding atop an XXL stadium cup. Those lids are proof positive that Slurpees were meant to be filled past the rim and spilling over. And that most of these stations are self serve, we are to understand that the good owners of the Slurpee Corp. intend for us to do just that.
This overflowing attitude is one that God expects US to have. But instead of self-serve, it’s others-serve.
This is hard, because our default nature is one of scarcity. We look after ourselves and get all we can, afraid that no one, let alone God, is really going to look out for us like we can look out for ourselves. Sadly many times, Christians can be more stingy than unbelievers. Just ask any waiter or waitress. Sunday is the worst day to work because of the lousy tips left by folks who have just been to church. And if you want to really offend someone at church, just start talking about giving. “I knew it! That church is just out for my money!”
Jesus in this passage is letting us in on an important characteristic of God – He’s liberal! Not in the political sense (how we almost exclusively use the word now), but in the truest meaning of the word. He can’t wait to give away far more than we deserve or can even imagine, while we are tempted to be conservative with our resources (see what I did there?) as if His blessings are going to run out.
Jesus paints an image of a marketplace, where the merchant, instead of taking advantage of the customer, surprises them by loading them up with product. “Into your lap” refers to taking their outer robe and pulling it up to make the front like a large pocket. The merchant packs it down, shakes it around and piles it high to give them all that they can carry! Jesus is saying here – this is what God wants to do with you.
In fact, Jesus told a parable about day laborers that got mad at the land owner for being overly generous with other workers that came later in the day. The land owner basically said, “look, I paid you a great wage, one that you were happy to accept. If I want to be overly generous to those who showed up later, it’s my money and my prerogative.” (see Matthew 20:1-16)
Jesus gives another basic principle about generosity – not just that God wants to give it, but that it’s related to our own generosity. We are His ambassadors, and as so, we not only represent Him but should emulate Him. Others should see how generous God is through our own generosity. So be liberal, just as your Heavenly Father is liberal!
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- What “measure” do you use in treating others? How might that need to change in being more generous with your attitude and resources?
- In what ways might you need to change the standard by which you measure out love, judgment, giving, and forgiveness?
- Can you be described as liberal in your generosity? How have you seen God’s generosity in your life?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?