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Christianity 401: Give

In Luke 6, verses 27-38, Jesus commands us to love our enemies by doing good, blessing, praying for, foregoing retaliation, being merciful, not judging or condemning, and forgiving them. Next, Jesus teaches generosity: “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap (Luke 6:38). Here, Jesus explains this truth: When we give, our giving is returned to us generously.  “Good measure” means we will not receive a meager blessing, but rather, a surplus.  “Pressed down” means filling every part of a container.  Filled to the brim.  We will receive abundantly in all areas of our lives. “Shaken” refers to grain.  The more the grain is shaken, the more its container can hold.  “Running over” describes an excess above anything we could ask for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). “Will be put into your lap” is a reference to quantity.  Picture a large napkin placed in your lap, ready to receive everything it can possibly hold. Get the picture? This verse is yet another illustration of the law of reciprocity.  Ultimately, whatever we give away, we get back from God.  And while this verse is often used to address money or tithing, the context here is about relationships. As we freely give to others - grace, love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness - we will receive in the same way. Or, as my mother often said, “Son, if you want to have friends, be a friend!”

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