A Good Measure

April 15, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Devotional thoughts | Leave a comment

“Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”   Luke 6:38

                I have often heard this verse quoted as support for financial giving to the Lord’s work – especially the church.  But in its context, I don’t see that as the meaning here at all.  The context is one of giving mercy and love in contrast to giving judgment and condemnation.  Notice the discussion both before and after this famous verse.  Before it we see these commands of Jesus: “Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you.”  “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.”  “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.”  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  (verses 27-37)  And then in the verses that follow, we find these famous words, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”  Probably Jesus’ most famous saying about judging others.

                Although there is some reference to giving of one’s possessions to others (verses 29-30, 34 – though no mention of giving to the Lord’s work), it appears that the idea of these verses is not finances at all.  The main idea of these verses is knowing what God has given us in grace, love, mercy and possessions, and passing those gifts on to others rather than tightly holding on to them.  This would be equivalent to James’ words, “Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:13)

                Like the Pharisees, I tend to focus on the matter of giving my finances while ignoring the more important matters of justice and mercy.  Lord, help me to look on others with the same measure of mercy and grace that you offer me.

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