Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." (Luke 6:38 NASB)
"Give," Jesus said. That should have been enough. Since Jesus said to give to others, we should be willing to give without thought of reward. He knew, however, that we are a people of "What's in it for me?" Despite being created in the image of God, we are not naturally generous. As toddlers, we are selfish to the core and it is often with many tears that we learn that sharing is a part of life. It is not our natural inclination.
To give us motivation in our giving, and perhaps to lessen the fear of doing without because we give, Jesus offered an amazing promise. We will receive in direct proportion to the generosity of our giving. If we give unreservedly, we can expect to receive in that same measure. He described the measure with which we will receive: pressed down to make room for more, shaken together to get the air pockets out and make room for more, and running over when the giving-container can hold no more.
Oddly enough, He promises that we will receive, but doesn't promise WHAT we will receive. If we give our discarded clothes, will we receive more clothes? Not necessarily. What He promised was not an exact payback, but a proportional return, a like-measure return. We decide what we will give, but God decides what He will return. He looks at our hearts and makes the decision about return based on what He sees. We don't know exactly what measure God uses, but I imagine things like the generosity of our giving, the obedience of our faith walk, the gentleness of our spirit, and the stewardship of our resource management all enter into the measuring. We know He gives good gifts to those He loves. That should be motivation enough if simple obedience was not.
What measure do you use in giving?
Today, pray that we and our loved ones will have such generosity of spirit that we will give for the pure joy in the giving rather than what God might offer us in return. Pray for the body of Christ to demonstrate such generosity that no need around us goes unmet.