In Luke 6:38, 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.” Jesus encourages us to give generously, for that will impact what comes back to us.
There are many who preach on this scripture and say you should give a lot to get a lot back. This is commonly known as the “prosperity gospel”. If we give a little, we will get a little back, but if we give a lot, we will get a lot back! How many preachers have you heard use this message when appealing to people to tithe and give generously to their organization?
This “give-to-get” mentality is an appeal to our selfish, self-seeking human nature. It answers the unspoken thought , “What’s in it for me?”. This type of preaching is actually very effective because it appeals to our natural tendency to think of ourselves, even when giving to someone else. Would Jesus have made such an appeal? No. Jesus always appealed to people’s spiritual nature, and called them to a higher way of life by seeking and following God.
Give to Please God
Some people are more natural givers than others, so this area is not an issue for them. However, I would guess that more people are like me, and have been more self-seeking than giving in their lifetime. Plus, even when we are in the position of being a giver, often there are hidden motives or unseen selfish reasons behind the giving. With an honest look inside, I must confess that someone who appears to be a “giving person” on the outside may be doing so with impure intentions.
For example, do we give:
- Our best? Or just enough?
- Without being asked? Or only when asked?
- To avoid looking bad in front of others?
- For the praise of other people, so they will think well of us (like the hypocrites mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 6:1-2)?
Think about situations where we are asked to give, or find ourselves in a position to be able to give, our time, our money, our service, our property, our prayers, or our helping hand. At that moment, what is our primary motivator?
A renewed spirit from God seeks to give, just for the sake of giving, because it pleases God and is commanded by the Master Jesus. That, not self, is the primary reason to give. Be honest, how many of us do that? How many of us, by our own willpower and effort, are able to do that? No, we need God to give us that type of spirit. If we pray and ask Him to change us, He will do so, but we have to WANT to be different. Our prayer must be earnest, relentless, and in faith if we truly want God to change us, as David prayed in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Give the Best: Mercy & Forgiveness
In the next post, Jesus Said Be Giving // Part II we will explore what else Jesus said about this topic. We will see that giving mercy and forgiveness are the best gifts to give.