What measure do we use when giving to others? Whether or not we realize it, most of us are giving to people daily. Our giving is almost as numerous as the interactions we have with people. This obviously means that the giving I’m referring to is not always a tangible sort. But of course sometimes it is.
A Measure In The Material
There are times, (hopefully) that we obey a calling to give monetarily. We also give material things to people. But what we do more often, is give to people in judgement, words and attitude. The question is, what measure do we use? Are we stingy or generous? Somewhere in between?
The answer to this question probably depends on what exactly we’re giving. Some of us are very generous with criticism and stingy with encouragement. Some have received so much mercy that they freely give it to others, even when they are seriously trespassed against. Others might condemn the slightest weakness they notice in other lives, while they themselves have sin they are blind to.
A Measure From The Word
Luke 6:37-38 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given 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. – ESV
In the era we live, these verses get used a lot. And in my view they get misused even more—often by people who don’t like when someone calls sin what it is. So much so, that I hesitate to use it many times. But at the end of the day, God’s Word is true and there is a life-changing principle in these verses, if we can look past their misuse.
Following The Principle
The principle is simple: what we are measuring to others is coming back to us. It doesn’t mean we can’t call sin what it is—as long as we’re okay with God calling sin what it is in our own lives.
But it does mean that if we are wise, we start from a standpoint of giving others the benefit of the doubt. And even beyond that, that we can liberally give the things we would like to receive in our own lives. Do we want mercy? Then we need to give it. Do we want friendship? Encouragement? Accountability? Love? Exhortation? Forgiveness? Correction? Then we need to be giving all these things.
As I suggested earlier, this principle even touches the realm of material and financial. If we give even these things, they will return in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and even running over!
We Need Faith To Apply It
The thing we get hung up on, is doing these things by faith. We seem to think at times that life is a zero sum game and that if we deplete our store of any one thing by giving it to another, it just stays there and we are poorer at the end of the day.
This isn’t true, of course, and if we can believe the Word of God and step out in faith, giving generously the things good for others, we can rest assured that in due season, God will sprout the seeds we’ve sown and some of the harvest of it is going right back into our lives.