Good Measure

by J. Randal Matheny, editor
gmahands.JPGA few years before my grandmother Burley Matheny’s death at age 94, I asked her what was her favorite Bible verse.
She said it was Luke 6:38. In her honor, here it is in the KJV:
“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.”
Though she died ten years ago this past May, the verse continues to hold special meaning for me.
Because she was a giver who believed and lived that verse.
Older cousins with longer memories than mine have marveled at how she could set out a meal for unexpected guests in record time, before the age of microwave ovens and other modern timesavers. She worked in the fields as long and as hard as anybody, then came in and fed the hungry mouths. With real food, not the prepackaged stuff.
I’m grateful for her life and example, which provide me with encouragement for doing the same.
The temptation to stinginess is constant. People are ungrateful for kindnesses given them. Resources often are scarce, especially in today’s tightening world economy. Sometimes generosity is badly interpreted as we seek to show it from our culture to another. The return giving sometimes doesn’t soon appear, and when it does, seems less than what was given.
When giving doesn’t seem worth it, when we dole out that good measure and it seems for naught, Jesus’ words — not to mention his example — brace us for more generosity, more kindness, more magnanimity than ever before.
Our motivations must be bigger than giving in order to get. Gratitude for salvation preserves the wonder of grace. Love for he who sacrificed himself on the cross marvels at the love of God shown in the midst of human rebellion. The desire to give God the limelight (the sense of “glorify”) keeps us showing the impartial benevolence to the good, the bad and the ugly, so as children of our heavenly Father others may see the divine perfection.
With those motivations firmly in place, we can give and look forward to the reward, far greater, far better, far more satisfying than if we were mere receivers and consumers.
Politics appeals to our selfishness. Economics puts us to counting our pennies and protecting our investments. Society would have us paint ourselves as important and popular.
But Jesus Christ is a giver and calls us to giving.
That’s something Granny understood better than most.

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