Green Pastures

Luke 6: 38

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.

If you read yesterday’s Word of the Day, you know that Jesus gives us commands and expects them to be obeyed. You will also remember, though, that he gives them in order to guide us on good paths for our own wellbeing. Today’s verse is an excellent example that very thing.

The first word of today’s verse is the command. Give. Jesus could have stopped right there. He instructs us to give. There is a promise attached to this command, but we should understand first that it is a mandate. It is not a suggestion; it is the Word of the Lord. Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6: 46), so let us not delude ourselves into thinking this is a mere inspiration. James said we should prove ourselves doers of the Word (James 1: 22). This is the doing. Give!

Jesus is not, however, an overbearing task master. He does not stand over us with whip in hand barking out orders. He is the good shepherd leading us to the still waters and green pastures (Psalm 23). We must follow Him, submit to his direction and guidance if we wish to lie down in those green pastures. In today’s verse the green pasture is people giving to you in such volume that you cannot contain it. It is running over. Now, the path to that green pasture, the path Jesus is trying to guide us onto is giving.

How fast do you want you receive your overflow? Jesus said you are the master of the measure. If you give with a teacup, your return will be measured in teacups. If you give by the gallon, your return comes by the gallon. The measure you use will be the measure of the return. Overflow comes faster if you use a gallon jug. The more you give the greater the return.

It’s still a command that we give, and that should stand alone, but Jesus commanded it because he is trying to get blessing to you, and he understands how his Father’s kingdom works. Give and you shall receive, good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The commandments and the blessing are tied together.  Follow the instructions of your Lord and be blessed.

Lordship

Luke 6: 46

“Now why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Do you remember that Jesus’ brother, James wrote to us, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves” (James 1: 22). We see today from where he got that idea. When you read these words from Jesus, does it sound a bit harsh? Perhaps it is a bit easier on us when we picture him in a crowd speaking to others. At the end of the day, though, we must ask ourselves the same question. Are we living our own expectations?

This sixth chapter of Luke is very instructive, but there is something else here worth noting because it shows the nature of Jesus’ Father. Although all of Jesus’ teaching is commandment simply because he is the Lord, he attaches promises to them. Not only are these commands paired with promises, but Jesus explains why God gives us the direction He does. In all cases, it is for our betterment. God’s nature is love and so love is guiding us to a better way.

I think of it this way. You may tell your small child, “Don’t touch the burner on the stove!” Is it a command? Of course it is, but it is given to protect, not deprive. That is the way of our Father. Look at verses 47 and 48, “Everyone . . . hears My words and acts on them, . . . he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when there was a flood, the river burst against that house and yet it could not shake it, because it had been well built.” Jesus doesn’t demand you obey him because he is an egomaniac who wants subservient followers. He requires compliance because he protects us with his words. Acting on Jesus’ words builds a strong foundation for our lives, and that strong foundation can weather the storms of life.

The fact that Jesus said to do something ought to be enough for any of us because he is Lord. However, we now know the command is for our protection and the improvement of our lives. Perhaps that increases the understanding of our relationship with the Father and encourages us to do as we are taught, even if we do not always understand.

Check-up

Luke 6: 46

And why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?

I have this verse highlighted in my Bible and every now and again it just jumps out at me. I kind of wish I had not highlighted it. Then again, it is a good question the Lord Jesus poses and one that is worthy of repeated consideration. How am I doing, today, at following his words?

I am not the only Christian who stumbles here. It is quite easy to settle into a comfortable, if a bit apathetic, routine with the Lord. We are supposed to zealously follow Jesus but it is difficult to retain that zeal on a day by day basis if we are not purposeful about it. The world and life intervene. There are many things we must do and it is so easy for that myriad of obligations and just daily life to take our eyes off of our first love. Then we have to wake ourselves up and look at our priorities. When that event occurs, I think the question we must ask ourselves is, “Am I truly doing what Jesus said?” It seems to me that this question must be answered at two levels. The first and most obvious as well as most important is, “Am I doing all that is recorded in the Bible?” Some people might ask that question differently to essentially limit the assessment to the red letter portion of the New Testament. I believe that to be error because Jesus is the Word. He is the whole Word so when the Bible says in the Psalms to trust the Lord that is every bit as strong an edict as something printed in red ink. So, are we, am I, doing all that Jesus has directed me to do in the Bible?

The second inquiry is into those things God has specifically spoken into my life. Am I following the dietary instruction He has given me? Am I following the course He has laid out for me? Did I give what He told me to give? Did I apologize to that person He told me to apologize to? Basically, this question represents the directions God has given to you pertaining directly to your life.

How are you doing? This is a challenging process but it helps us get back on track if we have slipped a little and it helps us refocus on whom we actually serve as our Lord. As Jesus says, if I am not following what He has told me to do, then how can I really say He is my Lord? It hurts a bit to realize how disobedient I have been but oh, it feels so much better once I realize the truth and apologize to Jesus. We get to start again and he holds no grudge. He is so good.

So, give yourself a check-up. Regardless of the answers, it really does bring life and light into your life and we all need that.