Posts Tagged Luke 6: 38

Give a Little

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you.

Sometimes I believe everything important can be learned from children’s shows. In fact, I am not sure why we don’t express the same life values in adult programming. I found this verse in Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It is the story of the Christmas Spirit, the story of giving.

Santa, Kris Kringle, is confronted by many ornery characters in the story. As he traverses the mountain between Kringle Village and Somber Town, where he intends to deliver toys, he is accosted by a mean wizard known as Winter Warlock. Santa, however, knows how to unlock even the coldest heart, with a gift. The simple act of giving a toy to the evil wizard melts his frozen heart. Winter then becomes good and a lifelong friend and companion of the Kringles.

In town, Santa explains to the children that whatever you wish to get, you must first give. If you want a little love, give a little love. He sings, “Whenever you take, give a little back.” Oh that we actually taught our children this important lesson. Even better, that we should not only be reminded of it ourselves but also embrace the philosophy. The Living Bible rendition of today’s verse is, “For if you give, you will get!” Pretty simple, huh?

Santa wins over Jessica with a gift and later she becomes Mrs. Santa Claus. He built a culture of giving but in his version, people give back. We live in a culture where people take and take. There seems to be little charity among us. We walk by the Salvation Army kettles like they are an annoyance to us rather than allowing ourselves to be motivated to support a group who is doing the work of helping others. This is not our essential nature though. It is not who we are. We are kind and generous in our union with Christ. We just allow the culture and our schedules to poison our attitudes.

So, here is my Christmas wish for you. Go get the collection of old-time Christmas animated classics. Get a big bowl of popcorn and watch them with your loved ones. Listen and watch for the message of Christ and let it melt you. Allow your love and generosity to bob to the surface. Let your tenderness show and let it have its say. I wish for you to receive greatly but I know that you must give if you want to get. Let Jesus fill your heart and bless you abundantly. That is my wish for you, immeasurable abundance of Christ in you and with you. Merry Christmas!

The Result

Isaiah 58: 8

Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Do you want to know what precedes the above? What comes before your light breaking out like the dawn? It is verses 6 and 7 which were from yesterday, doing for others. God does not ask you to do things for others for their sake only. He is trying to get something to you. God knows the law of sowing and reaping. He knows it is the principle by which he created the earth. He also knows if he can get us to sow a little seed, he can make it grow into a glorious dawn. Think of what the light of dawn is like. Have you seen a dawn recently? It is glorious. Moreover, it cannot be held back. It lights the earth as far as you can see and beyond. That is how God wants your light to be. Your righteousness, which you have in Christ Jesus, will go before you and God is going to bring up the rear. How glorious is that really? In the middle is everything you need and more than you can think or ask. God wants to sandwich you in His goodness and he is showing you how to enable Him to do just that. Give and it shall be given unto you (Luke 6: 38).

Good Measure

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap.
For years I didn’t really understand what this scripture was trying to get over to us. I understand give and it will be given to you. That is a clear direction from God concerning being generous in our giving to others. What is all of that other language for though? We do not have represented here a simple one to one ratio vis-a- vis giving and receiving. Rather, God is telling us that when we give, he gives back a vastly multiplied amount. It was one day when I was filling a container with a dry ingredient that this verse’s meaning became evident to me. As I poured my dry product into the container it began to fill while I still had more to fit into the container. So, I started tapping the container on the counter causing the substance to pack more compactly. Doing this allowed me to put much more substance into the container. Then I realized that is what “pressed down” and “shaken together” is all about. Maybe you could also press the dry material down with some sort of tamping tool so that you can fit more into the vessel. 

You see, God does not just give back to you in equal measure. He gives back an ample supply. He presses down and shakes down the substance so that he can get more into the container. And even then, he still runs the container over from his generous giving. He causes all things to come to you in abundance so that you cannot even contain it all. Well, good! Then you can take the overflow and give it away. But have plenty of pots and canisters available when you do because he is going to give back to you again, good measure!

Fulfilled

2 Corinthians 9: 8         Amplified Bible

And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.

In Luke 6: 38 we see Jesus importuning us to give. We have briefly pondered the question of why Jesus wants us to give.  I gave you a Biblical Principle that you can hang your hat on. Specifically, everything Jesus tells us to do is for our own good (see devotion from Wednesday, January 27, 2016). If you will always begin with this premise, you will arrive at right conclusions. Let me suggest some other reasons why Jesus encourages us to give.  

The first one is so simple and so obvious that it has almost become invisible. Jesus tells us to become habitual givers because he loves us. We have all heard people saying that the preacher on wants to get something from them. I don’t doubt there are preachers who put pressure on us to give for that reason but I innocently believe they are in the minority. Jesus pushes us to teach on giving not because he wants to get something from you. He is trying to bless you. He is trying to give to you but he needs your seed so that he can multiply it. Just look at Jesus’ life on earth. He was always giving away. He continuously blessed the people. He hasn’t changed. He still is trying to bless everyone.

In today’s text, the Apostle Paul provides two additional reasons for why Jesus teaches us to be givers. Those reasons are so that we will always have sufficient resources to meet our needs and so that, from our abundance, we will be able to help meet the needs of others.  

If you look closely, if you peer inside these ideas, you will see the Kingdom of God financial laws at work. Through our giving, we increase. With our increase, we increase others, who then contribute to meeting the needs of others, and on and on. God is in the business of growing. With the obedience of just a few people, He can start a garden growing which truly can spread across the entire earth. Let me just say this plainly – there is power in giving. Do not underestimate this primary tool of the Kingdom. Give and it shall be given unto you, then give again. Your crop will overflow so that you will have an abundance for every good work.

Applied Law

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

This is the law of sowing and reaping. If you give, it will be given to you. Period. Jesus spoke these words. The truth of the matter is that because this is a spiritual law, not Jesus nor even God Himself can stop the flow of benefit to you. A law operates the same way all the time and automatically. Jesus did not say and is not saying that when you give God will bless you. Read it again. He is simply teaching about the application of the law of sowing and reaping. When you sow, you shall reap.

As people begin to learn this important lesson they are routinely confronted with how, when and why to use it. Truly, I have seen more than one person trip over what they perceive as the ethic of this law. They will say to me, “Yes, I see this is true and from God but we shouldn’t give in order to receive.” That is like saying, “We shouldn’t intentionally use gravity.” I know it sounds holy, and that is what people are wrestling with. It is their learned sense of right and wrong. However, the real truth is that is a carnal perspective taught to all of us by the world. I know that sounds a bit harsh but I am trying to set you free here. When God establishes a law and Jesus teaches us about it they mean for us to use it for our benefit and for the benefit of those around us.

You don’t have to be selfish in order to use this law. You can always support this and other ministries with your increase. So, let’s get out of our worldly ethic for a minute and stretch our minds. Jesus came to the earth teaching that the Kingdom of God has come. That was a new thing and people had no idea what he was talking about. Then he proceeded to teach us how this Kingdom works. The first lesson, the predominant application of this Kingdom domain is that whenever you sow money, kindness, patience or anything else whether good or bad, you will receive a harvest which is multiplied many times over. Remember Jesus’ language. He said you shall receive “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.” When I hear that I think of trying to get all of the bag of grits to fit in my canister. I have to shake it and bang it on the counter to get it to press down so that I can get all of the grits to fit. That’s what Jesus is talking about. Your return is going to be so great that you won’t be able to fit it into your container. It is running over.

Now then, why did Jesus teach us this? Was he trying to get us to give? Most people probably don’t truly believe that answer or we would see much better and more givers in the church. Why then? Here is a Bible principle that will serve you well if you will remember it. Everything that Jesus teaches us, everything that he tells us to do is for our good. That is a biggy. It means that Jesus told us about giving so that we will learn how to receive. Alright, let that sink in. Of the thirty-six words in today’s verse only one has to do with giving. The rest are about receiving.

Here is my point. Jesus was trying to teach us all how things work in the Kingdom of God. Remember he said that we are not of this world (John 17: 14). We are of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we have to learn Kingdom Principles or how the Kingdom operates.

Today’s verse will teach you how to manage finances. If you want to make money, multiply your wealth and increase your financial well-being then you must give. That’s just how the Kingdom works, that is how Kingdom finances work. You cannot operate as the world operates and be successful because you don’t live in the world. This is a very important concept for us to grasp. Jesus is teaching how to succeed, how to have provision for every good work as well as taking care of your own needs. Now don’t say, “Well, I don’t want to give in order to receive.” That is denying the laws of the Kingdom. Would you say, “Okay, I am going to invest some money in this mutual fund but I don’t want it to increase.” Of course not. That would be foolishness. Why, then, would you expect a worldly venture to increase your portfolio but not your Father who loves you? When we stop and think of these things they really are foolish but it is only because we haven’t been taught. Now you know though. God intends for you to work the equation backwards. If I know the result I want, then I can figure out what seed to sow. If you need money, sow money. God’s law of sowing and reaping will multiply that seed and give you a harvest.

Jesus didn’t teach us to pray for our increase and then sit on the wharf and wait for our ship to dock. No, Jesus said, “Give.” Then pray over your seed. Ask Dad to multiply your seed to the one you give it to and to return it to you multiplied hundred-fold. Now that prayer is in keeping with the Word of God. Give and it shall be given to you. Let’s get scriptural with this thing and apply the spiritual laws.

Free from Judgment

Romans 2: 1

Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

First, I am not sending you this for the purpose of condemnation. It just struck me so hard and so loudly that I needed to write about it. If this is not for you, then just read it for the other people in your life that may need light in this area. However, having said that, I find that most of us have little pockets of judgment left in us. I wish I was clean of all judgment but if I said that you would know I was lying.  

The great Apostle Paul wrote this. I was first struck by how strongly he addressed his followers. It does not seem that he was in the least concerned with offending his followers. He did not even seem to consider how this counsel might affect his offerings. I could wish that all ministers had the courage to tell us what we need to hear but that is not an easy thing to do. You never want to offend people or hurt their feelings but at some level there is a time when the truth must be told. I believe Paul was more concerned about his flock’s eternal souls than their overly tender feelings.

Paul understood how large a stumbling block judgment really is. Jesus said if you judge you will be judged (Matthew 7: 1). Well, for my part, I do not want to be judged by Jesus. I want our beloved Father to look at me and see the blood of Jesus rather than my stupidity. I do not wish to enter into a theological debate about salvation and the blood but it seems clear to me that Paul picked up on the revelation of Jesus as it regards judgmental attitudes and behaviors and that those judgments we make have a detrimental effect on us rather than on the object of our judgment.

How far does this non-judgment go? In order to answer that please allow me to show you how the Father taught me about judgment. I knew someone involved in adultery. Now, of all the “sins” the sin of adultery is about as clear as any sin can be. It is black and white, no gray area at all. Well, I was struggling with loving the one involved in this sin and being supportive of their needs. What they were doing was just WRONG and they were confessing Christians. Where was I to stand? I wanted to stand with the Bible and on the side of right. Dad drew me up short on this though. He said it wasn’t my job to judge them. I didn’t think I was, frankly. The Bible judges them, the Word judges them. Their behaviors, quite honestly, were none of my business, as it turns out. Their actions were a private matter between them and God even as my own are between me and God and for no one else to judge. You don’t have to ratify actions or encourage actions that the Bible prohibits but it is not our job to judge other people’s souls. If the truth were to be told, we each have our hands full with our own missteps.

Since that situation Father has taught me a lot about judging others. Whether you think a thing is right or wrong is completely irrelevant. Isn’t that something? Even if the Bible says that a thing is a sin, it still is not our place to judge people as right or wrong, sinful or saints. None of us have been appointed as Lord High Judge. “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5: 22). Even Jesus does not judge for he said, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world ” (Matthew 7: 1). If Jesus set aside judgment, why do we so revel in it? Consider the woman caught in adultery in the eighth chapter of John who the Pharisees brought before Jesus. He had the most brilliant response to them. They wanted her judged, condemned and punished. They knew, however, that Jesus went around preaching love and grace. They had him trapped, sure enough. You probably recall the story, Jesus challenged the accusers saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). Well, that is the point isn’t it? Who among us is without sin? Let the one without sin judge others. When Jesus looked up, all of the woman’s accusers were gone. Why? They had the stain of guilt and sin on them. They were not qualified to judge anyone.

Isn’t it clever that these legalistic, holier than thou, Pharisees chose an adulterous situation to confront Jesus with? That was the very situation Father used to confront me. Jesus knew that our Father does not want us to engage in adultery. He knew every word of scripture. None the less, he did not judge the woman. Whatsmore, by his handling of the confrontation from the Pharisees, he prevented her being judged and stoned. Jesus, the sinless, Jesus the holy allowed a sinner to escape judgment. Howbeit that we, the sin stained, are so righteous that we would enforce judgment, condemnation and death on the accused?

Jesus did not agree with sin nor encourage it. So many times we think that unless we wave a red flag at someone else’s sin it is the same as encouraging sin but it is we who need the revelation. Then we will be able to help others. Jesus showed grace to the woman. He extended the Father’s love but he did not encourage sin. You will see in the closing verses of this story that Jesus said to the woman, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” When she confirmed that not one person condemned her he said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more”  (v. 10 – 11).

Paul understood what Jesus taught when he was in the earth. Our judgments of other people do more damage to us than they do anyone else. Judgments are very like unforgiveness. They each deal out enormous damage but the damage is reflective. In other words, they hurt us. “And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned” (Luke 6: 38). Surely Jesus understood the things of the Spirit. He is trying to reveal to us that we are our own worst enemies. Paul wrote that those who judge others condemn themselves. That is exactly what Jesus said.

I realize today’s devotional is long but it is important. We are condemning ourselves through our determinations about other people’s lives. So let us all do ourselves a favor. Free yourself from condemnation. Leave judgments of others to the Lord. It’s not your job. It’s not your business. Get free and save yourself.

The Isaac Principle

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measure to you in return.

I have been thinking about what we might call the Isaac Principle which we beheld earlier in the week. In the time of famine, Isaac sowed and in that same year he reaped a hundredfold (Genesis 26: 1, 12). One of the things we have learned about times of economic slumps is that churches and ministries suffer. 

The wrongness of that fact bowled me over this week. I saw something I had not seen before. It tells me that the church isn’t living by Biblical principles. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you.” Therefore, if we are in an economic downturn then we should not withhold our giving, we should increase it. When the famine was on, Isaac sowed. He didn’t withhold his seed or eat it for dinner. This is what the Bible teaches us. And we see it in the Old Testament and the New as well as from the mouth of Jesus. I just don’t think we can get more authoritative than that. So, the question is, “Why do people cut back on their giving in the lean times?”

The only answer I can come up with is that we are responding in fear rather than faith. Face it, the faith walk isn’t always easy but then, being broke in attitude and pocketbook is no cake walk either. I can look back over my lifetime and see the difference God’s truths have made. I remember having no money or having to wait for the next paycheck to buy tires for the car. It was no fun. Now you couldn’t convince me not to tithe. Just wished I had started it earlier. Now I wonder what God will show me next. Twenty years from now what will I wish I had learned earlier? I think it might be that I would learn how to trust God bigger than I do now.  Maybe I will say, “I wish I had held God to His word and believed He would come through for me.” 

We are each on this journey; learning and growing in the Lord. We just need to keep taking the next step. If you have not yet become a giver, do it today. Stop robbing yourself of God’s bounty. Jesus didn’t tell us to give because he needs something. He is trying to get resources into our hands. By our measure of giving, Jesus said, it will be given to us. How would you describe your giving? Is that the word that you want describing what comes in to you? Don’t give in to fear. Have the courage of heart to sow. Then watch your harvest increase.

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