Giving, from the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation
Give and It Will Be Given to You
The Measure You Give Will Be the Measure You Get Back. “38 give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6:38)
Fairness in the exchange of goods and services is of great importance. Establishing uniform weights and measures was written into the U.S. Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 8) and just weights and measures are addressed on several occasions in the Bible. For example, one of God commands the Israelites, “You shall not cheat in measuring length, weight, or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah [.6 bushel], and a just hin [1 gallon],” Leviticus 19:35-36.
We might think that “a good measure” in Luke 6:38 means a large amount, but what follows is a recipe for giving a fair or just amount (probably of wheat). Fill the basket, press it down, shake it, make sure it is running over. The lesson is that if you expect good measure, you should give good measure. This formula works with God as well as with humans. Aren’t we taught in the Lord’s Prayer to expect forgiveness in proportion to how
forgiving we are? We should expect the same to pertain to compassion, to mercy, and to generosity. According to John Wesley, this means God lets us decide how much blessing we wish to receive. And why would we wish to receive anything but the greatest measure of God’s blessings.
How does your giving to the operations of the church and to missions appear in light of this formula? Does your giving reflect a faith that you will receive generously? Or does it reflect something other than complete trust in God’s generosity?
Jim Wells, Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation