"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
It's just a natural instinct: We tend to give based on the way others give to us. Give an expensive gift to someone at Christmas who reciprocates with a small gift and we usually adjust our gift for the next year. They did the same thing in Jesus' day.
In the marketplace the Jews had a "stricken" or even measure of a dry good, and a "heaped" or overflowing measure. The rule was to simply be consistent in exchanges; you wouldn't return a "strike" for a "heap," and vice versa. When Jesus spoke about pressed-down and shaken measures, our modern ears don't immediately get it.
But Jesus was speaking in a language His listeners understood.
People expected to get with the measure they gave. Jesus flipped this understanding and related it to spiritual things. When it comes to our money, our time, our devotion, our commitment, and so on, we can't expect God to give us a "heaped" blessing when we are giving Him, and others, a "stricken" portion.
One of the most vital aspects of growing in our faith is developing a generous heart; a heart like God's. The world would be a pretty awesome place if all Christ-followers learned to give abundantly, not just in our financial giving to the church, but when it comes to leaving a tip . . . or when it comes to giving a student or a friend your time and attention . . . or when it comes to our prayers . . . or even when it comes to helping out in the community.
Jesus said that the measure you use will be measured to you. Depending on your generosity, this can be a good thing, or a not-so-good thing.
Our goal should be to continue to grow in our generosity, seeing our time, money, and talents as resources to be used at God's pleasure.
How can you grow in your generosity today?