Jesus said, “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 NIV)
This past weekend it snowed. Over New Year’s, it also snowed. The accumulation at present is over a foot, deeper in the drifts. Now, I have received it and if anyone is wanting to enjoy snow and you miss it, you are welcome to come to one of these Northern realms affected by the climate change.
However, to my knowledge, the snow did not come in answer to the sharing of snow with others. It is not like God blessed my generosity of sharing my snow with others with more snow.
However, I did observe a kind of giving like this occur over the past week. New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day, I shoveled several other people’s sidewalks. They cleared up and I got some good exercise. Later, someone else pitched in and helped me by clearing out my sidewalk a little bit … not once, but twice … one of those times on a day when the snow was particularly heavy they cleared a path.
Some people think that this verse is all about money. Others insist it is all about karma. Both are wrong. There is something about people who fear God to some degree: they will return favors and often be more generous in the return gift than the original gift. God oversees the hearts of people so that sometimes even hard-hearted souls will give generously in return when they receive a gift.
Again, that giving may not be tit-for-tat. It may be that Person A will shovel a walk and Person B will bring cookies. This giving was seen after the generosity of Americans to Southeast Asian natural disasters. Americans gave a LOT of money to help. The Southeast Asians helped generously, though the amount was not the same, when Katrina struck New Orleans. Actually, proportionally, the people from SE Asia probably gave more generously. The Good News of Jesus was at work in both instances. God brings generosity not according to what one does not have, but according to what one does have.
The Church & Mission’s appropriation of the tithes and offerings for local churches operates on a similar basis: Some give the Good News to the congregation, the church supports them. Some give their lives to reach lost people among the nations around them. The church supports these missionaries as their representatives.
I count it a privilege to have received gifts to pass on to others, such as the gift of $20 one lady gave me. I had given a few New Testaments to a ministry she was involved in, and she helped so much more. Now the bus tokens purchased with her money are going to those who happen not to have bus fare when they get on the bus … and with the tokens is a token of truth: A booklet, a gospel of John, etc.
So the gifts keep flowing, Because I am generous? No, because God is generous!