What I am going to say now could change your life; it could totally revitalize your life and the lives of those around you. I am not trying to sell you anything, nor would I ask you to sign on the line! But I am here as God’s spokesman with a message from His Word that could not only revolutionize your life but the life of the ministries through which you are serving your Lord.
There is a principle in Luke 6 that is so unconcealed that many people stumble over it and do not even notice it is there! I am not alluding to or promoting a prosperity gospel, God forbid; but I believe if the people of God would get ahold of this basic Biblical concept, it could and would make a transforming course-correction in their lives.
God has written some fixed laws into the warp and woof of His universe. These laws, relating to cause and effect, cannot be changed but by God Himself. Some of the laws are natural, some are spiritual. Both are equally fixed.
One of God’s spiritual laws which is fixed is recorded in Numbers 32:23: “Be sure your sins will find you out.” Nothing any person could ever do can alter that spiritual law.
Another one: “The wages of sin is death.” Since Adam and Eve sinned and began to die, mankind has been keeping its unalterable appointment with death, for “the wages of sin is death.” It’s fixed.
Still another spiritual law: “Whatever a man sows, he reaps.” That is a natural law and it is a spiritual law. You cannot get around it; you’ll never circumvent it. Whatever you sow you will reap and if you sow nothing you will reap nothing.
So, I want to challenge you (and, I am aware that I am probably “preaching to the choir,”) to take another look at what Jesus said in Luke 6:38: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Now, note the PROMISE. You, individually, personally are the one who is to give. In verse thirty Jesus specified that His Kingdom followers should “Give to every man that asketh of you…and as ye would that men should do to you; do ye also to them likewise.” (Luke 6:30,31) Solomon, long before Christ, writing under the Holy Spirit’s superintendence, said that “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He repay again.” Yes, I could write several follow up columns to this about how, in good faith, through the years, I have given to many people who turned out to be dishonest or at least disappointing in what they represented themselves as, but I have never regretted one time giving, lending if you will, to the Lord, knowing that He keeps the books and He will right all wrongs. I just need to keep a sympathetic, compassionate, generous spirit and leave to results to God. Give, therefore, with no thought of getting back. My wife and I have given people in need thousands of dollars in 50 years of ministry, but I have never made any gift a loan; it was always given no strings attached and with no expectation of getting any part of it back again. By the way, when I say “I” or “My wife and I” I am keenly aware that we are simply two of millions of blood-bought, born-again believers who are so grateful to God for His abundant grace that giving with abandon is a joy, not a duty. God’s people are, always have been and always will be, generous, liberal. “Cast thy bread upon the waters and after many days thou shalt find it.” A widow in our church, years ago, sacrificially gave a missionary $50 to help meet a need and later testified that she received unexpectedly a check in the mail for $1,000. It is a story the likes of which is repeated time and time again; it is a fixed principle, established by God.
Second, note the PROPORTION. “Good measure; pressed down, shaken together, running over.” A wealthy merchant was responding to a missions need and, as he was writing his check, an associate handed him a memo conveying to the businessman that he had just sustained considerable losses, whereupon the merchant tore up the check and wrote another one, this time for a much larger amount, musing that “God is teaching me to lay up treasures in heaven.” You simply cannot outgive God. Lonial Wire, our song leader for decades at Thompson Road Baptist Church, was known for saying, “I shovel it (gifts) out and God shovels it back to me again, but His shovel is a lot bigger than mine.” My friend, Pastor Ron Allen, who pastored the Calvary Baptist Church in San Francisco, was known for going “over the top” in leading his church to give generously to missions and to missionaries. It almost became legendary. After Pastor Allen moved to Georgia so that he and his wife, Barb, could be near their daughter in law following the death of her husband, I invited Ron to lead in one of our missions’ conferences. It was pretty obvious by a casual glance that he needed a new set of tires on his car and it was a joyful privilege to be a part of meeting that need and of casting some bread upon the waters. That bread has, indeed, come back in a proportion to us and to our church, that it is incalculable!
Then, note the PROVIDENCES. “Shall men give….” God in ways that only He could orchestrate, will work through men to bring back to you that you have given and more! You could never anticipate the how or the when of it and that is exactly what makes it so very special. It is a “God thing,” and it happens when you least expect it and in a way that you would never have thought of. Jacob, fleeing his homeland, vowed to give God a tenth all that God would entrust to his stewardship, and God used Laban over the twenty years following that promise, to make Jacob a wealthy man. God used the church at Philippi to take care of the Apostle Paul’s needs with the promise that “My God shall supply all of your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phii.4:19) I could not count the times God put it upon the heart of some generous person or couple to give us a week in a condo on a beach or a spacious home to enjoy in a place we could never have dreamed of visiting much less staying a week or more at no charge! When God does the repaying through people, it is without doubt “pressed down, shaken together and running over.”
It is said that a crippled girl responded to an appeal that her pastor had given to the church body when a definite need had arisen. The girl hobbled to the front of the church and gave a ring that she had worn; the pastor, noting what the child had done, sought her out afterwards and said, “We don’t feel right, dear, about keeping your treasured ring, so we’ve decided to give it back to you.” The girl replied, “You don’t understand, I didn’t give my ring to you, I gave it to God.”
Next, note the PRINCIPLE: “For with the same measure….” If you are stingy, you will live in meagerness; if you are generous, you will receive generously. It’s a fixed law and the scriptures are replete with examples of how it works in real time. Abraham was generous with his nephew Lot. Abraham became wealthy beyond belief. “It’s not what you’d do with the millions if fortune should be your lot; but what are you doing at present with the dollar and quarter you’ve got?”
Finally, the PLACE. Every believer, member of the Body of Christ, should be attached to and affiliated with a local, New Testament Bible-preaching church. That is where our first responsibility belongs, our local church, supporting prayerfully and generously its local and worldwide ministry outreaches. There are other worthy causes and ministries deserving our support, but our local church should be at the top of our list. We can give to missions, to ministries ministering to the homeless and many other outreaches, through the local church where there is not only responsibility but accountability.
So, keep on giving. If you have been a bit hesitant to exercise the faith needed to give with no thought of receiving in return, ask God to give you His heart and mind in the matter so that you will have a new understanding and deeper appreciation for what Paul said in his challenge to the Corinthians: “But thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.”
“Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.” (2 Cor.8:7)