“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 tricky business teaching about giving these days. Preachers of the prosperity gospel are packing their pews and selling lots of books. Theirs is a “give to get” message. But that is not the message taught by this month’s verse.
God’s Word does teach us that we will be rewarded for giving generously. In fact, the only time God said to test him was when he taught about giving: “’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” (Malachi 3:10) And in 2 Corinthians 9:6, we read these words from the apostle Paul: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
It’s all too tempting to turn such verses into a spiritual guide to lottery riches. But that is clearly not God’s intent. We all receive something from our giving. Some do receive material blessings that they trace to their giving, and every generous giver I know receives great joy from their giving. However, our giving is never to be motivated by self-interest. Giving is intended to be a response to God’s goodness, a way of acknowledging, as king David did, that all that we have comes from God: “Who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chronicles 29:14)
Paul made an important point when he asked, “Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?” (Romans 11:35) In other words, God is the giver. He gave us life; he gave us his Son; he gave us all that we have.
Give to get? No. We give out of humble, joyful recognition that we have already received far more than we could ever repay.